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How to Create Laser-Based Systems to Increase Profitability in Aerospace, Automotive, and Medical Applications

The Laser Institute of America has unveiled an expanded educational track for its second annual Lasers for Manufacturing Event, the highly successful exhibit launched to address a unique and pressing need for the North American industry.

LME 2012 will again provide attendees with vital guidance on how to create effective and efficient laser-based production systems to increase profitability in a broad range of applications, predominantly aerospace, automotive and medical.

Four new courses addressing the fundamentals of laser additive manufacturing, cutting, drilling and marking have been added, as well as a pair of two-hour tutorials addressing welding and joining and ultrafast laser processes.

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LME, being held once again in proximity to thousands of automakers and laser job shops, is geared to be one-stop shopping for those either seeking to refine current laser systems and applications or assessing potential new ways to employ photonics in production. The educational program will emphasize the rudiments of understanding the main types of lasers used for manufacturing, how to justify the investment and even maintaining laser safety.

In addition, the new two-day Laser Welding & Joining Workshop, chaired by Prof. Eckhard Beyer of Fraunhofer IWS, will run concurrently with LME on Oct. 23-24 in Schaumburg, IL. “As many laser manufacturers and system builders are engaged in the workshop, this would be an ideal opportunity to get application-related questions answered and get new ideas on how to use lasers,” Beyer noted. “We are going to unite many people from the laser community who were and are shaping the way the world of lasers is today. This will make it possible to address lasers from basics to high-end applications.”

The Welding & Joining Workshop will feature 18 presentations, spread out to allow ample time for attendees to interact directly with OEMs in the exhibit hall.

“The workshop will start with short courses presented by industrial research experts to give a sound overview of laser basics and current developments. End users with long standing experience will present their solutions to the typical challenges of laser applications.”

Some of those applications will include powertrain welding, remote welding, hybrid welding and “micro” applications, he noted. Such applications are being refined constantly as lasers continue to evolve.

“We still see a big impact of the tremendous rise in beam quality and energy efficiency,” Beyer says. “Here the application fields are expanded in many ways: ultra-low distortions or the realization of new mixed-material joints like copper-aluminum using precisely shaped weld pools. Also, remote-beam applications are now standard; that was a field restricted to expensive high-brightness lasers just a few years ago. Furthermore, laser size reduction is a key development; many lasers are now so small that machine integration is much simpler and can be done in a way not possible before.”

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Lasers for Manufacturing Event (LME)

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