Versatility in the Marketplace with the SPI Fiber Laser Range
In this article we explore Versatility in the Marketplace, showing nine different market sectors that the SPI Fiber Laser range are popular within.
The Aerospace sector very heavily uses fiber lasers; this is increasing year on year as the technology matures. Aerospace needs to address specific challenges – cost reduction, producing lighter weight parts, dealing with the extraordinary stresses of Aerospace environments and ensuring 100% reliability and safety.
Additive manufacturing is especially popular in Aerospace. The ability to print massive components quickly, with reduced weight, without tooling and with seamless joins are all attractive benefits to be delivered through AM. Also AM eliminates the need for some tooling (and associated costs) and produces complex components such as nozzles and cockpit equipment.
Drilling is much easier with fiber lasers and is contactless, thermal barrier coatings applied to Aerospace products can easily be removed prior to drilling by a fiber laser. Laser welding produces high quality and seamless joints with a fiber laser.
In automotive main drivers for fiber laser adoption are innovation and cost-competitiveness, fiber lasers help to achieve this. In addition lighter parts of more complex shapes can also be produced.
3D printing is growing in use in producing parts (e.g. bumpers, dashboards, etc.) as automotive manufacturers realise the benefits that the additive manufacturing process can deliver. Automotive has for a long-time developed prototypes and proof of concepts using AM rapid prototyping techniques.
The batteries sector extensively uses laser welding throughout the manufacturing process. Various types of batteries can be produced in a more environmentally-friendly manner and a wide range of metals can be used. Hermetic welding seals ensure protection from water vapour and improve corrosion resistance. Dissimilar metals can be welded together, all at high speed with low heat input (which causes less disturbance to surrounding materials).
The dental industry is a subset of health but is worthy of separate mention due to its high level of fiber laser technology adoption. Dentists have long been associated with high costs due to the one-off nature of product manufacture specific to a patient. AM has helped by enabling the 3D printing of patients dental products (e.g. teeth, crowns, bridges, etc.) at lower costs, with increased speed and increased precision (therefore providing lower error levels). Laser welding and cutting are also available via fiber lasers and used in the dental industry.
The electronics industry uses many fiber laser applications in the production of high-quality electronic components. In particular additive manufacturing enables the 3D printing of micro components and electronic circuits. Laser marking is used to mark DVDs and other electrical components. Laser welding is used in manufacturing multiple electronics products (e.g. sensors and batteries). Laser cutting effortlessly cuts electronic circuits, emitters and filaments. Laser sintering of electronic printed circuits is also a high-volume activity used within the electronics industry.
Like with the dental industry the jewellery market very quickly adopted fiber laser applications and incorporated them into everyday use. In particular additive manufacturing was used for a number of reasons, it lowered costs, enabled the creation of complex and unusual design patterns, incurs minimal waste of precious metals and enables the production of one-off jewellery and also small batches. Precise cutting of precious metals (e.g. gold and platinum) to length is important, so laser cutting is widely used to cut metals with minimal wastage. The jewellery industry regularly uses laser welding to create seamless joins, which are important in the aesthetics of jewellery.
The medical industry massively adopts additive manufacturing in many aspects of parts manufacture (e.g. human parts and organs). This is a rapidly growing field as most parts are created one-off for a specific patient which is an ideal requirement for 3D printing. Speed of manufacture and lower production costs are also drivers for additive manufacturing adoption. Laser marking is important to mark medical supplies and equipment with the correct messages. Laser cutting can often be undertaken at a precise micro level and is also used to cut stents and other medical products. Laser welding helps with sterilisation and also enables hermetic seals which are important in products such as pacemakers.
8) Semi-Conductors and solar cells
Silicon wafer processing is critical in modern-day industry, the cutting; scribing and dicing of silicon wafers can all be achieved through the use of fiber lasers. Using fiber lasers will ensure absolute accuracy and precision, as well as lower costs, speedier delivery and no micro cracking. Additive manufacturing is also widely used in the 3D printing of LEDs and semiconductors as well as in nanotechnology.
Sensors are in everyday use throughout our lives and are frequently manufactured through fiber laser technology. Sensors are often produced and then incorporated into a wider manufacturing process which can easily be integrated with fiber laser technology. Sensors widely use laser welding to create hermetic seals, with low heat input and at a much lower cost than traditional techniques
Infographic to show the versatility of our fiber lasers by market
Contacting SPI about fiber lasers
We do hope you have enjoyed this article about fiber lasers and the markets they serve. If you’d like to speak to us here at SPI visit https://www.spilasers.com/our-locations for further information or contact us on +44(0)1489 779 696 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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