Additive manufacturing in the laser spotlight

March 25, 2020
The March/April issue of Industrial Laser Solutions focuses on additive manufacturing using laser-deposited metal.
50 Year Pix (002)

As this issue went to press, the business world was still grappling with the economic impact and the consequences of the Coronavirus on the global manufacturing sector, especially within China as the originating site. And being extremely narrow-minded, it may be months before we can measure the impact of unplanned business closures integral to this country's position as the largest single market for industrial laser products.

I have lived through two of the most recent largest global flu epidemics: the Asian flu of 1957-1958, which slowed me for weeks while trying to start a new U.S. welding company, and SARS in 2002-2003 when flying around China, through checkpoints at airports, and train stations (especially as I popped in and out of Hong Kong).  During the latter, I stood in line for a temperature checks, dreading a command for a more in-depth diagnosis, which might lead to quarantine in Shenzhen, half a world away from home. I can empathize with those who have been quarantined for the Coronavirus.

As reported in January/February 2020 issue of Industrial Laser Solutions, China had already felt the effects of a manufacturing slowdown in early 2019 with revenues of China’s leading laser companies dropping by double digits, primarily as a result of imposed tariffs. On the recovery from this, they now were impacted by factory closures caused by the virus. However, some observers anticipate first-half year financial results could be stronger, as built-up buying pressures may boost laser system revenues.

The theme of this issue is additive manufacturing using laser-deposited metalthe laser is key to producing a controlled beam of photon energy necessary to efficiently melt metals to be deposited. I have first-hand experience, dating from my days at Avco Everett Metalworking Lasers, where my applications team, led by Dan Gnanamuthu, conducted some of the first high-power laser cladding work (US3952180) that was predecessor to its use in additive manufacturing.

Five contributed features will bring readers a laser-oriented view of state-of-the art laser additive manufacturing technology. David Richter (Universal Laser Systems) provides insights into selecting subtractive technology to work alongside additive manufacturing systems, to maximize the benefits (see article). And, Timothy Simpson (Penn State University) describes procedures for companies transitioning metal additive manufacturing into production as they gain confidence in the process and its capabilities (see article).

Then, Stan Ream (EWI) explains the development of a totally reflective, omnidirectional, coaxial optic with virtually unlimited laser power capability promise for achieving a higher deposition rate solution in additive manufacturing processes (see article). On a practical level, Milan Brandt (RMIT University) shows how laser additive manufacturing produces patient- and bone-specific implants based on lattice structures, which offer advantages over traditional solid implants (see article), while Andreas Thoss (THOSS Media) introduces a German solution to raise additive manufacturing speed, decrease powder consumption, and reduce postprocessing.

On a different subject, Ron Schaeffer (HH Photonics), in Part 2 of his ultrashort-pulse laser report, lists suppliers of optics, motion components, and contract ultrafast laser processing services (see article). Also, the theme of the upcoming May/June 2020 issue is laser welding. You won’t want to miss this update on a resurgent application.

About the Author

David Belforte | Contributing Editor

David Belforte (1932-2023) was an internationally recognized authority on industrial laser materials processing and had been actively involved in this technology for more than 50 years. His consulting business, Belforte Associates, served clients interested in advanced manufacturing applications. David held degrees in Chemistry and Production Technology from Northeastern University (Boston, MA). As a researcher, he conducted basic studies in material synthesis for high-temperature applications and held increasingly important positions with companies involved with high-technology materials processing. He co-founded a company that introduced several firsts in advanced welding technology and equipment. David's career in lasers started with the commercialization of the first industrial solid-state laser and a compact CO2 laser for sheet-metal cutting. For several years, he led the development of very high power CO2 lasers for welding and surface treating applications. In addition to consulting, David was the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Industrial Laser Solutions magazine (1986-2022) and contributed to other laser publications, including Laser Focus World. He retired from Laser Focus World in late June 2022.

Sponsored Recommendations

Request a quote: Micro 3D Printed Part or microArch micro-precision 3D printers

April 11, 2024
See the results for yourself! We'll print a benchmark part so that you can assess our quality. Just send us your file and we'll get to work.

Request a free Micro 3D Printed sample part

April 11, 2024
The best way to understand the part quality we can achieve is by seeing it first-hand. Request a free 3D printed high-precision sample part.

How to Tune Servo Systems: The Basics

April 10, 2024
Learn how to tune a servo system using frequency-based tools to meet system specifications by watching our webinar!

Precision Motion Control for Sample Manipulation in Ultra-High Resolution Tomography

April 10, 2024
Learn the critical items that designers and engineers must consider when attempting to achieve reliable ultra-high resolution tomography results here!

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Laser Focus World, create an account today!