Unique blue laser technology advances welding techniques
November 25, 2019
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Frost & Sullivan has recognized NUBURU, Inc. with the 2019 North American Technology Innovation Award for being the first company to have developed a blue laser technology for welding copper and dissimilar alloys.
It is a high-power laser comprising gallium nitride semiconductor laser diodes operating in the blue wavelength coupled to an optical fiber. This technology is highly useful in applications ranging from automotive electric vehicles (EVs) to consumer electronics module manufacturing within smartphones, laptops, and desktops.
“The AO-500 blue laser technology has a processing power equivalent to a five kilowatt IR laser, without reaching the vaporization stage or creating bubbles inside the weld. This results in a mechanically strong and spatter-free, defect-free weld,” said Ranjana Lakshmi Venkatesh Kumar, industry analyst. “By adopting high-power blue laser diodes, developing micro and macro optics solutions, and integrating these with an optical fiber to produce a laser beam similar to conventional industrial lasers, NUBURU presents a differentiated blue laser technology to the welding industry.”
In 2018, NUBURU commercialized its blue laser technology in the form of the 150 Watt AO-150 and 500 Watt AO-500 products for industrial applications. Though conventional industrial lasers are powerful, reliable, and automated, they operate in the IR region with a wavelength of about one to 10 microns (µm), which is inadequate to efficiently weld copper.
The blue laser technology operates at a wavelength of 450 nm, which makes it well suited for welding copper and other metal alloys with a material thickness of up to 700 microns (µm). The physics of blue light allows copper to absorb 13 times more light than possible with IR light, resulting in a quicker melt of the copper material and keyhole mode welds.
NUBURU is especially focusing on increasing its laser’s power from 500 Watts to one-to-four kW so it may be used to weld materials with a thickness of two-to-five mm. It is also investing resources in developing brighter lasers. The brighter the laser, the smaller the spot size, which generates a deeper, stronger, and thinner weld. NUBURU’s near-term aim is to provide a laser power source that is two times more powerful than other blue energy sources, enabling a 60 percent deeper penetration of the weld.
“Significantly, NUBURU is targeting the high-potential 3D printing metal market. As blue laser technology can provide 10 times faster build rate and results in high-resolution net-shape parts, the solution is expected to experience high adoption in this large, demanding market,” noted Kumar. “NUBURU caters to a key future need in welding by ensuring improved productivity and resolution via blue light lasers. Frost & Sullivan recognizes its foresight of identifying a vital industry need and addressing it with its timely blue light laser technology.”
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to the company that has developed a product with innovative features and functionality that is gaining rapid acceptance in the market. The award recognizes the quality of the solution and the customer value enhancements it enables.