Virtual galvos give designers new options
Learning the language of any new technology is often half the battle, according to Eric Ulmer, an applications engineer at GSI Lumonics (Billerica, MA).
Learning the language of any new technology is often half the battle, according to Eric Ulmer, an applications engineer at GSI Lumonics (Billerica, MA). For example, designing a scanning system requires understanding a technical language that includes a number of different types of galvanometer, mirror, and driver options, each of which has different characteristics and performance tradeoffs. The learning curve in understanding the basic terminology and performance of galvanometers can be slow, so the applications engineers at GSI Lumonics created a means of speeding the process with software that allows users to create simple, virtual prototypes from the company's product line of galvanometers and resonant scanners.
Prototyping programs such as Virtual Lab (V Lab) may be the beginning of an industry trend aimed at improving communications between customers—or potential customers—and the engineers who support sales. In the V Lab program, the user selects a starting configuration by defining the scanner/mirror combination or the application of interest. Step, raster, and vector scan modes are further refined with specific operational parameters. The performance results are depicted graphically and complemented by a three-dimensional simulation of scanners reflecting a laser beam onto a work area.
Chuck Barresi, vice president and general manger of the Component Products Group and the driver behind V-Lab's development, says that by first using V Lab to educate themselves, customers can considerably shorten the design process. V Lab is not a complex modeling tool for optical engineers and does not perform true optical modeling. Rather, it is a tool for novices to scanning technology who are reviewing scanning options to solve a design challenge.