Laser Drying

A quantum leap in energy savings – drying with photons

The process

Drying with diode lasers is a cost-efficient and environmentally friendly alternative to the widely used convective oven drying. With homogeneous area spots, even large surfaces with side lenghts of up to 2 m can be irradiated. In principle, all materials that exhibit sufficient absorption for the laser wavelength can be dried. The laser beam heats only the coating, thus yielding a targeted evaporation of the solvent or even sintering on the workpiece. The spectral range of the laser radiation used is either in the near infrared range (NIR), more precisely between about 900 and 1070 nm, or around 445 nm in the case of blue diodes. Due to the ease of integration into existing machine concepts, fiber-guided high-power diode laser systems of 1-50 kW output power are generally used.

The process advantages provided by diode lasers

  • Energy efficiency of diode laser systems (WPE) > 50%.
  • Precise energy transfer to the layer to be dried, where almost 100% of the photon energy is absorbed and used for drying. This is also referred to as ‘cold drying’.
  • Closed-loop control (temperature versus laser energy).
  • Extremely homogeneous spot areas, size adjustable, and for pilot applications with zoom function.
  • Energy savings of 25-50% compared to convection dryers.

 

Diode-laser-based drying in a roll-to-roll process: A better alternative to gas-based convection ovens and high-maintenance infrared lamps

The semiconductor-based direct conversion of mains power into laser radiation functions independently of fossil fuels and also provides pinpoint energy use in the process. Laser drying significantly reduces the space required for the production environment and enables faster process speeds with more energy-efficient process control. In particular for the production of lithium-ion batteries, Laserline diode lasers are ideally suited to drying of the electrode paste (slurry).

More detailed information on the topic can be found in our blog post or in our IDEEL press release.

Journal

Energy and quality turnaround for drying processes

Replacing convective drying with laser drying? In times when highly efficient electrified solutions are sought in the face of gas shortages and rising energy costs, this could become the standard. Diode-laser-based drying processes in roll-to-roll mode, optimized by a revolutionary beam shaping technology, bring excellent throughput rates and results as well as making a significant contribution to gas phase-out and climate protection.

Application examples

Press Release: Research Projekt IDEEL

The IDEEL research project aims to introduce a laser drying process as a more climate-friendly and economical method for the volume production of lithium-ion batteries. Within this context, it has now been possible to produce laser-dried anodes and LFP cathodes in a roll-to-roll process for the first time. The innovative manufacturing process significantly reduces energy consumption in electrode production and at the same time enables the drying speed to be doubled.

System integrated drying of offset color layers

An optimal laser drying of offset color layers requires the direct integration of the beam source into the printing system. This is the only way to achieve a possibly effective drying and thus an efficient process control. For this, the laser head, supply unit, as well as the necessary homogenizers and line focus optics have to be integrated exactly into the given assembly space. This requires compact, individually suitable components. The diode lasers and optics of Laserline meet these demands in an optimal way: their modular and compact design makes it possible to tailor all components precisely to the individual customer’s needs. Power compromises do not need to be accepted. Despite their highly compact design, Laserline's diode lasers can easily provide powers in the double-digit kilowatt range.