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LASER BEAM MACHINIG

CHINMAY PAMECHA 2009UME453

Presentation Overview
Background Laser cutting fundamentals Types of Lasers Equipment Material removal mechanism by Laser Process Parameters Application Laser beam selection guide Comparison with other methods Cost Advantages and Limitations New Developments Safety Hazards References

Background
LASER stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The underline working principle of laser was first put forward by Albert Einstein in 1917. First Industrial use since 1970. Laser beam can very easily be focused using optical lenses as their wavelength ranges from half micron to around 70 microns.

Laser Cutting Fundamentals


Laser processing is carried out utilizing the energy of coherent photons or laser beam, which is mostly converted into thermal energy upon interaction with most of the materials. As laser interacts with the material, the energy of the photon is absorbed by the work material leading to rapid substantial rise in local temperature. This in turn results in melting and vaporisation of the work material and finally material removal.

Fig. 1 Spontaneous and Stimulated emissions

Sometimes change of energy state puts the electrons in a meta-stable energy band. Instead of coming back to its ground state immediately it stays at the elevated energy state for micro to milliseconds. In a material, if more number of electrons can be somehow pumped to the higher meta-stable energy state as compared to number of electrons at ground state, then it is called population inversion.

Such electrons, at higher energy meta-stable state, can return to the ground state in the form of an avalanche provided stimulated by a photon of suitable frequency or energy. This is called stimulated emission. Fig.1 shows one such higher state electron in meta-stable orbit.

Laser Beam Formation Example (Ruby Laser)


1. Laser in OFF state
4. Photons runs parallel to the rod direction & reflect back and forth and stimulate emission on more atoms

2. Flash Tube excite atoms in the Ruby Rod

5. Laser light passes through partially-reflective mirror 3. Some Atoms emit Photons

Fig. 2 Lasing Action

Types of LASERS
Type Wavelength 694 mm 1064 mm 1064 mm 800-900 mm 10.6 m 330-530 m 200-500 m 633 m Typical Performance Pulsed, 5W Pulsed, 1-800W Pulsed, 2MW Pulsed, 2-10MW Pulsed, <15kW Pulsed, 1-5 kW Pulsed, 10 kW Pulsed, 20MW

1) Solid
o Rubey o Nd-YAG o Nd- Glass 2) Semi Conductive o Ga-As 3) Molecular Ion o CO2 o Ar+ o Excimer 4) Neutral Gas o He-Ne

Schematic Diagram of LBM

Figure 3

Components of System
Control Unit (CNC program) Power supply (120 or 240 v) Work piece positioning table
may be fixed or move in up to 2 directions May contain fastening devices scrap removal system

Optics Unit (focusing unit)


mirrors, focusing lens,

Fasteners Gas/debris removal system

Material Removal Mechanism in LBM

Figure 4 Physical processes occurring during LBM

Material Removal Mechanism in LBM


As presented in Fig. 4, the unreflected light is absorbed, thus heating the surface of the workpiece. On sufficient heat the workpiece starts to melt and evaporates.

The physics of laser machining is very complex due mainly to scattering and reflection losses at the machined surface. Additionally, heat diffusion into the bulk material causes phase change, melting, and/or vaporization.
Depending on the power density and time of beam interaction, the mechanism progresses from one of heat absorption and conduction to one of melting and then vaporization.

Material Removal Mechanism in LBM


Machining by laser occurs when the power density of the beam is greater than what is lost by conduction, convection, and radiation, and moreover, the radiation must penetrate and be absorbed into the material.

The machining rate (mm/min) can be described as follows:


MRR = =

Cl LP Ev Abh

Where Ab = area of laser beam at focal point, mm2 C1 = Constant depending on material & conversion efficiency Ev = Vapourisation energy (depends on W/P) h = Material thickness (mm) Lp = Laser power (W)

The volumetric removal rate (VRR) (mm /min) can be calculated as follows:

VRR=

C l LP Ev h

Where Lp = laser power, W Cl = constant depending on the material and conversion efficiency Ev = vaporization energy of the material, W/mm3 Ab = area of laser beam at focal point, mm2 h = thickness of material, mm

Process Characteristics
1. High capital and operating cost and low mechanical efficiency. 2. Reduces fatigue strength of the machined component. 3. LBM is capable of machining refractory, brittle, hard metallic and non-metallic materials. 4. Cannot be used for highly conductive or reflective materials. 5. Very small diameter holes (230 m dia) and holes of large aspect ratio can be machined.

Parameters affecting LBM

Figure 5

Response Parameters
MRR : 0.1 mm3/min Tolerance : 25 m Surface Finish : 0.4 1.25 m Surface damage depth : 125 m Corner radii : 2.5 mm

Applications
Wood Paper Leather Glass Ceramic Metal

Applications
Machining Welding Heat Treatment Micro- machining and micro-welding Sheet metal trimming, engraving, blanking Determining the distance, velocity, direction and size of and form of distant objects by means of selected signals of the radar.

LASER beam Selection Guide

Comparison of Laser cutting to other methods

Cutting cost example


CAPITAL COST: a. Laser Generation: $ several hundred thousand b. Cooling system, power supply, multi-axis robot: exceed cost of laser OPERATING COST: i. CO2 lasers cost $70-$100/watt (Nd:YAG costs 10-20%more) ii. Safety devices iii. Skilled operator

Example CO2 system operating at 1500W a. Electricity at 7cent/kW-hr $2.10/hr b. Internal laser optics $2.06/hr (lifetimes per manufacturer) c. Focusing lens (500hr lifetime) $1.10/hr d. Laser gas $1.03/hr e. Assist gas $3.60/hr (based on 10ga. Carbon steel w/ O2 assist) TOTAL: $9.89/hr

Advantages
Tool wear and breakage are not encountered. Holes can be located accurately by using an optical laser system for alignment. Very small holes with a large aspect ratio can be produced. A wide variety of hard and difficult-to-machine materials can be tackled. Machining is extremely rapid and the setup times are economical. Holes can be drilled at difficult entrance angles (10 to the surface). Because of its flexibility, the process can be automated easily such as the on-the-fly operation for thin gauge material, which requires one shot to produce a hole. The operating cost is low.

Limitations

High equipment cost. Tapers are normally encountered in the direct drilling of holes. A blind hole of precise depth is difficult to achieve with a laser. The thickness of the material that can be laser drilled is restricted to 50 mm. Adherent materials, which are found normally at the exit holes, need to be removed. Not useful for highly conductive & reflective materials.

LBM New Developments


In 1994 Lau et al., introduced the ultrasonic assisted laser machining technique not only to increase the hole depth but also to improve the quality of holes produced in aluminium-based metal matrix composites (MMC). Using such a method, the hole depth was increased by 20 percent in addition to the reduced degree of hole tapering.
In 1995 Hsu and Molian, developed a laser machining technique that employs dual gas jets to remove the viscous stage in the molten cutting front and, thereby, allowing stainless steel to be cut faster, cleaner, and thicker.

LBM New Developments


In 1997, Todd and Copley developed a prototype laser processing system for shaping advanced ceramic materials. This prototype is a fully automated, five-axis, closed-loop controlled laser shaping system that accurately and cost effectively produces complex shapes in the above-mentioned material.

Laser Assisted EDM: In 1997, Allen and Huang developed a novel combination of machining processes to fabricate small holes. Before the micro-EDM of holes, copper vapour laser radiation was used to obtain an array of small holes first. These holes were then finished by micro-EDM. Their method showed that the machining speed of micro-EDM had been increased and electrode tool wear was markedly reduced while the surface quality remained unchanged.

Safety Hazards
Contact with hot workpiece Hand/eye contact with beam Inhalation of fumes Smoke, Fumes, dust particles have environmental risks

References
1. Meijer J., LBM, State of the art and new opportunities, Journal of material processing technology 149 (2004) 2-17. 2. Jung J W, Lee C M, Cutting temperature and laser beam temperature effectson cutting tool, IMECS, 2009, March 18-20, Hong Kong. 3. Harve L, Peter H, et al., Laser Beam Process and Apparatus, United States Patent, Patent no. 5516918, May 14, 1996. 4. Nakamae K, et al., Laser Processing method and apparatus, Patent filed on July 30, 2007, US 8294123 B2 5. Hassan Abdel-Gawad El-Hofy Advanced Machining Processes 6. Khan M. I., Haque S. Manufacturing Science 7. How Laser Works. Maschler, M. Howstuffworks homepage March 10, 2013. http://science.howstuffworks.com/laser.htm 8. Advance Laser Cutting Technology. March 10. 2013. Beam Dynamics Homepage http://www.beamdynamics.com/Products/faqs2.html