Simple and Flexible Control Architecture for a Cost-Efficient and High-Precision Laser Processing

Lasers have been used for many years in materials processing for welding and cutting applications. Laser technology, however, was always considered to be a specialist area, requiring complex control systems for accurate manipulation as well as significant investment and expertise. Howeve, the cost for lasers has decreased immensely more recently and so this powerful technology is now becoming interesting for new application fields.

Coupling Automation and Motion Systems with Laser Power

The commoditization of lasers, however, also means that it is becoming more and more difficult to gain a competitive advantage. Placement and control of the laser spot – as integral parts of the laser application – are the essential elements for this, but they put additional hardware requirements onto an automation system. Because for a uniform and high-quality processing, fast shutter speeds and exact firing of the laser pulses are essential in any application. For this purpose, a precise placing and an accurate energy control of the laser are of crucial importance. This can be achieved by coupling the automation and motion system with the laser power.

Typically, the machine manufacturer or system integrator has to literally redesign the entire control system to achieve motion and laser synchronization. This takes time and increases the cost because of additional hardware and larger control cabinets.

Modular Solutions for a Fast and Cost-Efficient Implementation

Advanced solutions, therefore, should pursue a modular approach. Users can design systems much easier and faster while saving costs, regardless of their experiences with lasers. Industrial control networks such as EtherCAT make these modular solutions even more flexible since components, which are not based on movement, such as height sensors or extraction systems can also be easily integrated.

PI supports laser machine manufacturers and laser system integrators in making advanced laser applications possible, for example, with a flexible programming and simplified, cost-saving control architecture or the synchronized control of the laser along the motion path for an accurate and high-dynamics processing.

White Paper

Advanced Control Technology for Laser Material Processing

How to make it easier for system integrators to design and build advanced systems for a new age of laser applications

Version / Date
WP4027 2020-03
pdf - 1 MB

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