High-throughput laser micromachining

Micromachining throughput is limited by the beam delivery, not by the laser power

VULQ1 dynamic beam shaping system strongly beenfits micro-machining applications, where it brings multifold throughputincrease by the mean of dynamic process parallelization. Highpotential applications like surface texturing or micro-drilling arefinally ableto reach the economic competitiveness threshold formass production

“+10% investment = +400% productivity”

VULQ1 scales up productivity of femtosecond laser-based surface texturing process
(credits: Manutech Saint-Etienne, France)

Classical scanner-based beam delivery creates a trade-off between quality and throughput in micromachining applications

Micromachining processes are typically performed with short or ultra-short pulsed lasers – typically few nanoseconds down to femtosecond range. In this regime, there is an optimal energy for a given process providing maximum ablation rate per watt of power and optimal quality [[i]].  Beyond this level, ablation rate drops; the excess energy is contributing to degraded quality as it heats the target material. This phenomenon is a major bottleneck to increase throughput: there is a trade-off to be determined between throughput and quality. One practical consequence is that users may buy an expensive 50W picosecond laser and run it at 10W for their process, therefore wasting 80% of their investment…

[i] B. Neuenschwander & al., Surface structuring with ultra-short laser pulses: Basics, limitations and needs for high throughput, 8th International Conference on Photonic Technologies LANE 2014

Multibeam technology : no more trade-off between throughput and quality!

Multibeam programmable beam shaping allows to scale up the productivity of the micromachining process with the parallelization, while making full use of the capital investment. And it’s done in a flexible way, as the “laser tool” – by analogy to the standard mechanical tool – can be digitally switched by software in a split-second.
Laser can always run at full power with each of the beamlets operating at the optimal processing point, no matter the material or the optical configuration: there is no more trade-off between throughput and quality!

Benefits of VULQ1 for micromachining

  • Ultra-high-speed processing
    • Multifold increase of process speed with parallelization
    • No more trade-off quality vs speed !!
  • Flexibility
    • The laser tool is changed by software
    • The same machine can run many recipes or produce different product models
  • Profitability
    • Maximizes use of the laser capital equipment
    • Accelerates return on investment