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Co2 lasers with beam powers of 100 kilowatts or above - feasibility, applications and future prospects

Investigation into the feasibility of a new a 100 kw beam
power co2 laser and its potential applications - mainly in
laser materials processing.

During the last 20 years the evolution of CO2 lasers applied in production engineering has been characterized by a steady rise in beam power from a few kW in the early Eighties up to nearly 50 kW at present. Now beam powers up to 100 kW and above seem to be possible. Up to now the application of increased beam powers has enabled an scaling up of processing speed and thickness of the machinable materials. It may be expected that this behaviour can be observed also at powers up to 100 kW and above. Possibly even new processes will be feasible at increased beam powers. To find concepts for high power lasers which can be extended up to powers of 100 kW and above as well as to evaluate material processing at these power levels, the EUREKA project "ULTRALAS" will be launched. This project is intended to bring together companies which provide components for laser sources, such as optics, blowers, rf-generators, mechanical construction, and university institutes which are experienced in the development of laser sources as well as in the application of high power laser beams or competitive technologies. The project will be split up into two phases. In the feasibility phase laser concepts will be discussed on a broad basis. Laser-matter interaction at power levels which are not yet available and the consequences for both known and new laser processes will also be evaluated. Additionally, competitive technologies such as processing with plasma or electron beams will be considered. This initial phase will identify the most promising concept for an ultra-high power laser and an overview over potential technical applications of this laser. In the definition phase the costs and schedule for the build-up of a 100 kW CO2-laser will be drawn up. The demands for applications in laser material processing or in other fields will be considered. After a period of two years the present project will result in a concept for a 100 kW CO2 laser including an estimation of costs and time demand for the development of a laser of this kind. Depending on the results further steps for implementing a prototype must be planned. In order to get an optimum impact to the European manufacturing technology this could be done by establishing a large scale facility which is open to the European research community. Organizational structure of the project; a) Steering Committee: one representative of each participating European country should be nominated for the Steering Committee that carries the general responsibility for the project. b) Working Groups Working Groups should be built up to carry out the technical work covering the following topics: - 100 kW CO2 source: This working group must identify concepts for the set-up of 100 kW CO2 lasers and evaluate the various concepts in view of their technical risks, their costs and the time necessary to develop the prototype of a 100 kW CO2 laser with appropriate beam qualities. Finally this group will propose the most promising concept for implementation. - Modelling of conventional processes with high power laser for a level of 100 kW This group must be devoted to a theoretical study of the various processes of laser material processing with respect to laser powers in excess of beam powers which are availabe at the time. Safety aspects will also be included. - New Applications: This group should be devoted to the identification of new applications either in material processing or in other fields that can only be achieved with a power level of 100 kW.
Acronym: 
ULTRALAS (FEA)
Project ID: 
1 390
Start date: 
01-07-1995
Project Duration: 
49months
Project costs: 
1 130 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.