Lasers have been used in industry for a long time.

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Lasers may have the reputation of being a futuristic technology but their application is now so wide, they are used in a number of different industries.

Having uses which range from engraving to precision cutting, lasers offer solutions on all types of material.

From precision welding tiny components to slicing through metal, lasers are an essential part of the process in a number of sectors. We take a look at just some of the industries which benefit from laser solutions and how they are used in the field.

Automobile

Creating engine parts is a critical process; components must be cut to the exact shape required without stress on any of the parts in order to avoid cracking or an inability to bear weight.

The different types of laser cutting processes provide options for the automobile industry, allowing thermal stress cracking for precision placement.

Welding is another vital process, with tight regulatory controls on the performance of the parts, it’s essential to ensure that each part is able to work as intended without compromising the safety of the car once fitted. The fuel injectors are one such part which requires precision welding, without the distortion that can come with too much heat. Fiber optic laser welds are perfect for this application, delivering the accuracy without the risk of excessive heat input.

Other applications in the automobile industry include laser scribing, drilling oil and air bleed holes, hydroform and body cutting, con-rod scribing and heat treating.

Aerospace

An incredibly sensitive industry, lasers play a vital role in repairing various parts which are of a high value such as turbine engines.

Laser cladding is used as a way of reducing the cost of replacing lost materials as it’s possible to precisely place the lost cladding and reduce the amount of grinding that needs to take place for it to be fitted.

Honeycomb welding is another very specialist type of process which allows structural strength whilst using the lowest possible weight. Using lasers to spot weld, incredibly thin layers can be used to create very strong joints. This pattern can easily be replicated again and again, thus creating a high speed honeycomb weld.

Laser welding in aerospace is often used to fuse turbine components whilst drilling and cutting applications are used in combustor liners and cans.

Electronics

This industry has a vast number of uses for lasers, ranging from cutting electronic stencils to welding batteries; the application in electronics is endless.

The ability to be able to mark components is essential in the electronics industry, enabling each part of the product to be traced and identified. The marks achieved with lasers are clean, legible and permanent and able to withstand a variety of harsh treatments, including disinfectants and steam sterilisation.

Indelible laser marking is increasingly becoming utilised in the market for goods which are copyrighted, such as CDs, or pharmaceutical products.

Because lasers don’t rely on contact in order to leave a mark, components which could not otherwise be marked due to the risk of damage caused by mechanical vibration can now be labelled.

industrial sectors1

Electronics use lasers regularly.

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Medical devices

Being able to label each item indelibly is obviously a very important requirement in the medical devices industry and can be essential in the event that a component is identified as potentially harmful or deficient. Using lasers to once again provide this type of engraving is an integral requirement in this industry.

But the use of lasers goes beyond this; hermetic welds which are strong and hygienic are a requirement in many different medical devices from those designed to be implanted such as pacemakers to instruments used in surgery and procedures, such as endoscopes and forceps.

Materials which are to be implanted into the body must have clean edges with no areas which could attract debris or infection. Lasers are the only way to achieve this because of their ability to create a defined shape in tiny dimensions whilst still maintaining the quality of the finished product.

Conclusion

Lasers are considered as a critical piece of equipment in a number of different industries, delivering an end product which wouldn’t be possible via any other method. Fast, cost-effective and accurate, industrial laser solutions offer options in everything from aerospace to electronics.

Image credits: fastlizard4 and Computer Hotline