Multi-kilowatt fiber laser beam combiner for metal cutting

April 20, 2010
Avon, Conn. – OFS has created an all-fiber beam combiner, a component that enables multi-kilowatt laser applications, and is working closely with Hypertherm, a manufacturer of metal cutting systems, on a product that incorporates the all-beam combiner technology.

Avon, Conn. - OFS has created an all-fiber beam combiner, a component that enables multi-kilowatt laser applications. OFS is now working closely with Hypertherm (New Hampshire), a manufacturer of metal cutting systems, on a new product that incorporates the all-beam combiner technology and is expected to be available late this year.

OFS's all-fiber beam component works to enable multi-kilowatt fiber lasers by combining the beams from up to 7 individual fiber lasers. Early demonstrations of the technology have reached over 1.5 kilowatts of power with a high-brightness, high-quality beam. OFS's design for the all-fiber beam combiner is unique, based on a combination of patent-pending specialty fiber design and glass processing. It is expected the beam combiner can be used at several kilowatts of output power.

“High beam quality with a large input fiber count was the ultimate goal with this new device," said Bob Holland, product development manager at OFS. "What's interesting," he continued, "is that we haven't yet seen the limits of our proprietary, all-glass design approach. There is still room for development using ever larger input fiber counts for higher total output power, while retaining and improving beam quality."

In the Hypertherm application, the level of power and precision reached with the all-fiber beam combiner enables development of high-reliability fiber laser cutting solutions. "This first application of the technology," said Tomoko Ohtsuki, marketing manager for OFS's commercial laser product line, "showcases exciting possibilities for what can be done with an all-fiber beam combiner and for what can happen when advanced technology is developed with a focused eye on the marketplace."

This product can be customized to a wide range of fiber laser types and other applications using multi-kilowatt fiber lasers. OFS is a leader in the research and development of specialty fiber technologies, which are used to design and manufacture building blocks for fiber lasers and amplifiers. The company looks forward to working with other manufacturers who have new ideas about using or customizing OFS's beam combiner for other high-power laser applications.

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