Austria-based laser machines manufacturer Trotec has introduced a new line of carbon dioxide (CO2) laser sources from US-based manufacturer Iradion Laser, which is now available in South Africa from Trotec’s local branch in Johannesburg.
Iradion’s CeramiCore technology uses a resonator body made of 100% ceramic material, which is unique in the industry, as laser processing usually uses metal and glass laser sources.
Compared with metal or glass lasers, the technology eliminates the risk of aluminium welds or seals leaking over time, as two ceramic half shells are fused to form the resonator during manufacturing, says Trotec product marketing manager Christine Boegl.
She explains that the ceramic resonator is fired at 800 °C and that the burning process effectively cleans the interior surface of the resonator.
Further, all the optical elements of the laser are glued onto the ceramic material, while the electrodes are mounted on the outside of the resonator and gas exits through the ceramic body.
“This is important, as there are no interior metal surfaces that could damage the gas mixture’s equilibrium. The result is a pure gas composition over the lifetime of the laser source, which guarantees a longer product life,” says Boegl.
She adds that, within Trotec’s internal product approval process, the company conducted lifetime and high-load stress tests on Iradion laser sources, which showed that the drop in power over the full lifetime of CeramiCore lasers is 50% less compared with all-metal lasers.
Ceramic lasers can be operated at much greater pressures, resulting in a faster pulse speed, which, in turn, is critical for high-speed engraving and marking applications.
Further, the CeramiCore laser consumes less energy than regular metal or glass lasers, with research indicating a reduction of up to 30%, owing to an energy efficient radio frequency. Boegl further highlights the power stability of the laser sources throughout their lifetime.
Iradion’s laser sources have been enhanced for Trotec laser systems to increase the benefits of the CeramiCore technology, says Trotec research and development head Stephan Fazeny.
“We tested Iradion laser sources for several years to ensure that CeramiCore technology is compatible with Trotec laser systems,” he notes.
Additional Product Offering
Besides the new Iradion CeramiCore lasers, launched at the end of January, Trotec offers the Speedy 400 flatbed laser, a laser engraving machine, with a working area of 1 000 mm × 610 mm, which accommodates the most common material sizes, says Boegl.
She further tells Engineering News that Trotec is awaiting the registration of the patent for its Flexx-Function laser, which features integrated CO2 and fibre functions. “Depending on the material that requires processing, the user can alternate between functions.”
Alternatively, both laser sources can concurrently be used in a single job without the need to manually change laser tubes, lenses or focus, offering Trotec customers multifaceted applications.
“A CO2 laser source is perfect for engraving plastics, wood, rubber and leather, among other materials. However, a fibre laser is ideal for engraving and marking metals and for achieving colour change in plastics,” asserts Boegl.
She adds that Trotec first launched the Speedy 300 Flexx laser system, on which the Flexx-Function laser is based, in 2010.
Trotec also offers JobControl laser software, which assists a user during laser engraving and laser cutting.
“Good software will adapt to the way you work, not the other way round,” says Boegl.
JobControl is an intuitively usable software package that will provide the user with full control of all laser functions. The open software architecture is compatible with most personal computer programs, including CorelDraw, Photoshop, Photopaint, AutoCAD, Adobe Illustrator, Word and Excel.