Laser Industry Report

Changes to the performance standards for lasers would bring US rules more into line with those of the European Community, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The proposed amendments aim to make the rules for classifying, testing, and labeling lasers similar to those of the International Electrotechnical Commission (Geneva, Switzerland), which is also revising its standards. The proposed US amendments are available on the Web at www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/98fr/032499d.txt, and

FDA explores changes in laser-safety standards

Changes to the performance standards for lasers would bring US rules more into line with those of the European Community, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The proposed amendments aim to make the rules for classifying, testing, and labeling lasers similar to those of the International Electrotechnical Commission (Geneva, Switzerland), which is also revising its standards. The proposed US amendments are available on the Web at www.fda.gov/ohrms/dockets/98fr/032499d.txt, and written comments are invited by the FDA.

Mitsubishi claims speed record in welding stainless steel

Japan-based Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. reports it has succeeded in welding 10-mm stainless-steel sheets at 1.2 m/min using an iodine laser. The laser generates a wavelength of 1 Em at an output power of 8.5 kW, allowing welding more than three times faster than with an electric arc welder. Very little energy is absorbed by the plasma generated during welding, which can improve welding precision compared to conventional CO2 systems. Mitsubishi sees applications for the laser in shipbuilding and bridge construction. Development was carried out in cooperation with Osaka University, the Shikoku National Industrial Research Institute, and the Applied Laser Engineering Research Institute (all in Japan).

TRW finds a place in the extreme ultraviolet

TRW (Redondo Beach, CA) has delivered its first laser for extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) lithography to Sandia National Laboratories (Livermore, CA). The Nd:YAG laser, a diode-pumped wand with a pulsed output of 1.7 kW, is to become the central component of a light source that will produce 13.5-nm light as the laser beam interacts with a xenon jet to create a plasma. TRW is working with the EUV LLC, a consortium of US semiconductor manufacturers led by Intel, Motorola, and Advanced Micro Devices, as well as the Virtual National Laboratory, made up of Sandia, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore, CA), and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley, CA), to develop the EUV light source.

Cubic Defense Systems wins $35 million defense contract

The US Army and Marine Corps have awarded Cubic Defense Systems Inc. (San Diego, CA) a $35 million production option for the next phase of its Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement system (MILES 2000). This laser-based training system allows commanders to conduct direct-fire force-on-force training exercises. The ground troops train with the weapons and vehicles they would use in actual combat; however, laser impulses replace bullets. The equipment that Cubic will provide includes antitank weapons, combat and noncombat vehicle systems, pyrotechnic devices, and controller guns.

Coherent reports record second-quarter sales

Coherent Inc. (Santa Clara, CA) has reported record sales for the second quarter ended April 3, 1999. Sales and net income for the quarter were $116.5 million and $5.4 million ($.22 per diluted share), respectively. More than 61% of second-quarter sales were to international customers. Current quarter sales increased by about 10% or $10.7 million, compared to the same quarter last year. Incoming orders for the second quarter were $110.3 million, a 1% increase from the same period last year and flat compared to first-quarter 1999. In related news, Coherent has completed its acquisition of Star Medical Technologies from Palomar Medical Technologies (Lexington, MA). The price tag was $65 million in cash, plus an ongoing 7.5% royalty for Palomar.

Also in the news...

Spectra-Physics Lasers (Mountain View, CA) has entered the fiber-laser market with help from fiber-manufacturer Lucent Technologies (Somerset, NJ) and diode-laser manufacturer Opto Power Corp. (Tucson, AZ). . . . Convergent Energy (Sturbridge, MA) has signed an agreement with Huffman Corp. (Clover, SC) to market a new generation of five-axis laser drilling machines. Laser Technology Inc. (Englewood, CO) has received multiple-unit orders worth $205,000 from two state-police organizations for its QuickMap accident investigation system.

Paula M. Noaker

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