ICALEO offers forum for laser materials processing

Oct. 1, 2008
Temecula, CA-The 27th convening of the International Congress on Applications of Lasers & Electro-Optics (ICALEO) will take place October 20-23 at the Pechanga Resort and Casino here.

Temecula, CA—The 27th convening of the International Congress on Applications of Lasers & Electro-Optics (ICALEO) will take place October 20—23 at the Pechanga Resort and Casino here. This venue was home to the Native American Lusieño people and is still marked by a 1000-year-old oak tree under which they were said to gather.

Now, the oak will likely be the focus of countless digital cameras as hundreds of laser materials processing investigators and developers gather to exchange the latest in technology innovation.

This year’s event will feature three concurrent conferences on Laser Materials Processing, Laser Microprocessing, and Nanomanufacturing. Featured will be highlight sessions on direct metal deposition, unique plastic processing, hybrid welding, and welding for the automotive and aerospace industries.

Among the associated social events is the Schawlow Award presentation to Prof. Dr. Eckhard Beyer - Director of the Fraunhofer Institute of Material and Beam Technology in Dresden. Dr. Beyer is a most deserving recipient of this award, given for his many contributions to laser materials processing technology and his service to the Laser Institute of America (LIA), the sponsors of ICALEO.

This year in the metal deposition session more than 40 papers give notice that this technology sector is currently a hot topic among process developers. Conference Chair Paul Denney (CCAT) speculates that interest in this subject is driven by concerns for sustainment of components.

The Microprocessing Conference, according to Conference Chair Xinbing Liu (Panasonic Boston Laboratory), will look at ultrafast and nanomaterials processing and a joint session with the Laser Materials Processing conference will cover high-average power materials processes.

Conference Chair Costas Grigoropoulos (UC Berkeley) says the Nanomanufacturing Conference will address multi-scale integration for the fabrication of functional devices, highlighting emerging applications in laser nanopatterning, pulsed laser deposition, and sintering and micro/nanomachining.

Several short courses, offered as technical refreshers, are scheduled.

As always, the LIA has arranged several social events, including a wine tasting at an area vineyard, to help relax attendees from the many technical sessions.

Contact the LIA at www.icaleo.org for details.

DMLS offers cost/time savings

Livonia, MI — Linear Mold & Engineering, (www.linearmold.com), released results of data it gathered comparing manufacturing times for creating molds and mold inserts in direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) against traditional machining processes. The data was assembled during two-and-a-half years of costing out more than 50 commercial tool and mold projects across a variety of industries. The results demonstrate that, for many applications, DMLS significantly reduces production times and therefore costs. Cost savings using DMLS range between 15 and 30 percent, depending on the complexity of the part.

Injection molded visor clips (foreground) were made using sintered DM 20 tooling inserts and stainless steel GP1 (17-4) slide components. Using DMLS the moldmaking time was reduced to eight days, instead of four weeks using traditional machining processes.
Click here to enlarge image

Because Linear has longstanding experience with machining, CNC tooling, EDM, and other tool and moldmaking processes, it has accumulated a library of benchmark figures for how long different projects will take using these methods. Over the past three years, Linear has manufactured molds and inserts in cobalt chrome, GP1 (17-4) stainless steel, and DirectMetal-20 using DMLS. The table lists examples of some typical moldmaking projects, showing estimated production times for machining versus theactual time for DMLS.

Click here to enlarge image

“Given the high cost of materials and energy these days, we are always on the lookout for savings and efficiencies. Often, when we compare our production times between laser sintering and other manufacturing methods, using DMLS is the obvious choice,” said John Tenbusch, president of Linear.

Linear conducts its DMLS on the EOSINT M 270 from EOS GmbH Electro Optical Systems (Novi, MI; www.eos.info). The additive manufacturing process begins with a CAD file that defines each layer of a cross-sectioned model. Twenty- to 40µm layers of metal powder are deposited onto a build platform and laser sintered by a focused laser beam. The platform is then lowered and the process repeated layer-by-layer until a three-dimensional metal part is produced.

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