Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Fraunhofer ILT to Unveil Bidirectional Sensor Technology at LASER World

ST Medical Devices

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Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT) is set to show off their latest innovation, this time with bidirectional sensor technology, for laser material deposition—to be used in commercial optics applications. The Fraunhofer ILT team will be demonstrating the benefits of this new process at LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019  (booth A2.431), running from June 24-27.

This technology is not exactly new as Fraunhofer ILT explains in their latest press release, but rather their »bd-1« sensor technology is proven, due to ten years of research and development centered around production measurement technology. The »bd-1« sensors have been tested in measuring metal strip thickness:

“Since the process operates bidirectionally, the laser measuring radiation takes the same path back and forth. Transmitter and receiver do not have to be aligned with each other; therefore, the measuring radiation can also be guided via scanner mirrors or other deflection devices. For this reason, the »bd-1« measurement technology can be combined very well with laser beams used for laser deposition, for example,” states the Fraunhofer ILT team.

Circulating measuring spot for inline measurements of LMD track heights.

Originally used with an in-house optical system at the Fraunhofer ILT facility, the measurement technology works with standard commercial optics, offering easy solutions for industrial users due to the compact design of the accompanying »bd-1« measuring heads which can be ‘easily integrated’ into optics systems.

“In order to measure applied track heights independently of direction, the measuring radiation is coupled coaxially to the processing radiation and deflected around the application point via mirrors,” states the Fraunhofer ILT team.

With the »bd-1« sensor technology, users can look forward to invaluable mechanisms that allow for much better surveillance, performance and QA in real-time manufacturing with powder- and coaxial wire-based LMD processes. The sensors can also be used for monitoring other applications like laser drilling and laser microstructuring.

Laser processing optics with »bd-1« sensor and compact measuring beam deflection for inline geometry measurements.

This new technology is just evidence of one of many different research and development projects happening at Fraunhofer ILT where they create and test a variety of different applications for laser plant technology, modeling and simulation, metrology, and a variety of processes like cutting and drilling, welding, soldering, microprocessing, and additive manufacturing.

With headquarters in Aachen, Germany, Fraunhofer ILT employs more than 540 individuals and maintains over 19,500 m² net floor space for R&D activities. They also make up just one portion of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft—comprised of 72 different institutes.

As 3D printing and electronics continue to grow together with countless innovations, many industrial users are also pointing the benefits toward sensor technology from embedded sensors to strain sensors to biomedical and robotic also.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts! Join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

[Source / Images: Press release from Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT]

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