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LDMblue : blue diode lasers - 19" Design

Efficiency thanks to Blue Laser Light

The blue diode laser LDMblue revolutionizes the processing of copper, gold, and other highly reflective metals in multiple respects. The direct generation of up to 2 kW cw laser power in the 450 nm wavelength range is unique and avoids the need for complex and inefficient wavelength conversion devices. At the same time, the absorption and, by extension, the process efficiency, is increased by a factor of up to 20, compared to lasers in the 1-micron range. The diode laser’s energy deposition can be precisely controlled, enabling copper to be melted without evaporation, leading to a melt pool that is more stable than ever before. This opens up new application opportunities, such as the heat conduction welding of thin copper foils.

Field-proven System Concept

LDMblue is based on the 19’’ rack design of the LDM product family, which has been well-established in industrial applications for many years. The modular design of the system enables lasers to undergo maintenance and servicing in the field. Pre-defined spare part modules allow central system components to be easily replaced by trained personnel. Alongside the service concept, all the interfaces for control and system integration remain unchanged. The control options also include the fast modulation of the high-power diode laser’s output power with a rise time of less than 150 microseconds (10%-90%).

Scalable Laser Power

Laserline’s characteristic modular system concept facilitates the stagewise scaling of the LDMblue laser’s maximum power. At the same time, the beam quality can be adapted to suit the process requirements by means of different diode stack configurations. This unique technology provides the flexibility, modularity and scalability that is already a hallmark of other Laserline products.

New Application Opportunities

The combination of the 450 nm wavelength with 2,000-Watt cw laser power opens up completely new opportunities for the high-quality processing of highly reflective metals. Moreover, this can be performed almost independently of the condition of the surface. This means that electrical interconnections can be created using a laser, but also brings forth new prospects for improved welding processes in electromobility applications, such as battery interconnection. Thanks to the world’s first system providing up to 2,000 Watt of blue laser power, many more applications are expected in the near future e.g., copper cladding. More information can be found under Nonferrous Metal Welding or Copper Welding.

Welding of Thin Sheets

Tasks that pose a good deal of challenges with conventional joining techniques, such as the welding of thin copper foils and copper sheets to give a perfect cosmetic appearance,  are now possible. Furthermore, combinations of dissimilar types of metals, such as copper with aluminum or copper with steel, can be created with copper as the first joining partner, which breaks the convention that copper has to be the bottom joining partner. The heat conduction process that this enables goes hand-in-hand with a high gap bridge ability, which allows novel component designs, such as edge welds or butt joints, to be used in order to increase material efficiency.

Technical Advantages at a glance

  • Laser power (CW) in the kilowatt range at a wavelength of 450 nm
  • Fast power control and power modulation
  • Optimized absorption in highly reflective metals
  • Industry-proven system architecture
  • Highly stable process with still melt pool characteristics
  • Welding of stacked thin foils and copper sheets
  • Welding or joining of dissimilar metals
  • 19’’ rack mount for easy integration of the blue diode laser into existing systems

Use of Blue Lasers in the Industry

As part of the EffiLAS (Efficient High Power Laser Beam Sources) funding program launched by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), for the first time a blue kilowatt diode laser has been built and optimized for materials processing.

This development is unparalleled anywhere in the world and opens up a new segment within laser technology: the processing of materials with laser radiation in the visible wavelength range.

Infrared lasers achieve excellent results in many industrial applications. However, the infrared beam is less suited to the processing of nonferrous metals, especially copper. A key reason for this is the low absorption of the laser beam by nonferrous metals in this wavelength range. This means that the welding processes are often instable, while welding mistakes in production lead to rejects. The use of blue light with a short wavelength of 450 nm is ideal for attaining a high absorption rate. This much higher absorption enables high-quality, even welding results to be achieved in the laser processing of copper. The availability of the blue laser beam opens up new fields of application, not just for the laser processing of nonferrous metals like copper or gold, but also for the joining of different metals.

In the field of regenerative energies and alternative drives there is new potential for the use of blue lasers in production. For example, around eight kilograms more copper is processed during the manufacturing of electric cars than that of passenger cars with combustion engines. This is a small value, but all told, it offers a wide range of possible applications for blue lasers. For instance, in the manufacture of batteries, copper foils with a thickness of ten micrometers are joined together or joined with other metals. This is made possible for the first time by the use of high-power diode lasers with a blue light spectrum.
Significantly more copper is needed in the construction of wind turbines. Large offshore wind turbines use up to 30 tons of copper – and it is conceivable that lasers could be used here, too, in the future. Due to the high seam quality, the process is also extremely well-suited for applications in electrical engineering – especially in the manufacture of components in power electronics, where the joints must be particularly temperature-resistant.
In addition to electronic applications, the new wavelength of the blue laser also enables gold to be processed, leading to new applications in jewelry production. As technical development progresses, numerous other applications are expected to be tapped into in the near future – continuing the rapid technological innovation of high-power diode lasers for industrial production in this new wavelength range.

The Hybrid Laser Process: Blue + NIR

Combining the blue laser radiation from LDMblue with a laser in the infrared wavelength range leads to highly stable, almost spatter-free keyhole welding processes. The blue laser stabilizes the process, even when welding in deep penetration mode, while the NIR laser provides the additional energy. Laserline has developed special hybrid optics that combine the blue and NIR laser beams.

Find out more in our journal article on welding copper components.

Optical Specifications

 LDMblue 400-20LDMblue 800-20LDMblue 1000-40LDMblue 1800-30LDMblue 2000-60
Output power*400 W800 W1,000 W1,800 W2,000 W
Beam quality20 mm.mrad20 mm.mrad40 mm.mrad30 mm.mrad60 mm.mrad
Optical fiber400 µm [NA 0.1]400 µm [NA 0.1]400 µm [NA 0.2]600 µm [NA 0.1]600 µm [NA 0.2]
Fiber-coupling unitLLK-D/Auto
Fiber lengthFiber lengths of up to 20 m
Power stability< ± 2% over 2 hours
Wavelength range445 nm ± 20 nm

*Power specification at a fiber length of 5 m

Mechanical Specifications

VG5H**Weight approx. 50 kg, dimensions: 19 inch rack mount 5U (220 mm), 636 mm installation depth
VG7HWeight approx. 110 kg, dimensions: 19 inch rack mount, 7U (312 mm), 766 mm installation depth

**Selected models