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distinguish yourself is in the usability, flexibility
May believes there are
quicker, then that can save a lot of money. People
and power of the software you supply with the used to machine the mould and then drill in.
laser. We have the VLM system for people who
many more tasks for which You can use a laser to build up tools from
want to create their own labels and marks, but
nobody had ever thought
powdered metal by welding it and then laying
you can also import files from a CAD package. down more metal. You can make a tool of any
In the medical market people want that software
a laser could be the geometry and any complexity; this is called
to be professionally written so they can audit it
ideal tool
additive fabrication.’
to make sure there is not a bug somewhere that May believes there are many more tasks for
can be life-threatening. They also want a which nobody had ever thought a laser could
company that can supply and support the companies are buying their own lasers to start be the ideal tool. But the reducing cost and the
machine around the world.’ doing repair work in-house. sophistication of the beam delivery mechanisms
One of the fastest-growing markets is in the ‘Another area is using a laser to ablate a tool, has continued to make new things possible.
moulding industry, where several new but that has not reached a huge volume except He believes that Rofin’s great advantage with
applications have emerged repairing, modifying for very small parts with detailed features. customers is that it has such a wide range of
or even creating injection moulding tools. People do use lasers to ablate some texture or to sources and systems that it can deploy to create
May says: ‘After several million uses even the engrave lettering. Degating is another area of a solution. It is not just a CO laser company or
2
hardest injection moulding tools can be injection moulding where lasers are being used, just a fibre or semiconductor company; whatever
damaged. These things sometimes cost because they do not leave tool marks or the kind the task, it can come up with the right technology
thousands of pounds or even hundreds of of tiny cracks that you sometimes get from and the right wavelength to get the job done
thousands of pounds if they have cooling built mechanical clippers, especially in Perspex. We correctly rather than trying to make something
in. Traditionally they were repaired using have sold a lot of CO lasers into the mobile fit. He says that most customers are not that
2
microplasma. With a laser you can heat up very phone industry. concerned exactly how the job is achieved; they
fine detail; also you heat these areas up very ‘The latest thing is to use a laser to crease just want the results to be good and to get the
quickly, so you can do a repair without damaging conformal cooling channels within the mould. best deal. The tools may have come from a lot
other areas. In many ways this is like jewellery You can create a whole web of fine cooling of different places before they got into the Rofin
repair. It has now become the norm that channels just under the surface. If you can shave toolbox, but there should be one there to fit
specialist repair shops use a laser. Increasingly, a short time in production by cooling it down most jobs.
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10 lASer SYSTeMS eUrope • issue 2 www.lasersystemseurope.com
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