Maximizing Your Fiber Laser Capabilities: Time and Energy Share
The ability to couple light from one fiber to another greatly expands upon IPG’s fiber laser functionality. A single laser can be used as a power source for multiple work cells thus reducing the total cost of capital equipment. In addition to greater functionality and reduction in cost, optical coupling also provides ease of replacement of the process fiber, be it for altering the parameters for an application or in an instance of accidental damage to the fiber. If damage does occur, the main power source stays intact and operational for other channels, thus providing greater protection to the power source. Available options include a single port coupler, a beam shutter (also known as a 1-channel beam switch), a multi port beam switch offered in either 2, 3, 4 or 6 channels, or a 2 port energy sharing function with the additional option of 100% full power in one port.
Each component is available in a multitude of configurations depending on the chosen power source, series and the size of the component. Though the beam sharing function is only available as a 2-port system it can also be combined with the multi-port beam switch for even greater capabilities. All beam switches come with a state of the art safety system which constantly monitors the position of mirrors, fiber interlocks, scattered light inside beam switch cavities, water flow for optical connectors and other important parameters.
Connector Options: While typically configured with QBH compatible HLC-8 connectors, IPG is now offering QD compatible LCA bayonets and adaptors and HLC-16 connections as well.
Process-feed fiber COUPLER
A coupler is mainly used to protect the feed fiber and the laser from the process. Another common use is to change the application parameters by simply replacing the process fiber with another one with a different core diameter.
BEAM SHUTTER (1-channel beam switch)
A beam shutter or a 1-channel beam switch, is mainly used to increase the process speed in a production line. By adding a high-speed shutter to the beam path, the laser can be kept on and the laser input to the process fiber can be controlled through the shutter.
TIME-SHARING MODE (Multi-channel beam switch)
Beam switching allows one laser system to supply up to six different process fibers to be placed into separate stations or work cells in a manufacturing setting. This allows a single laser system to supply laser power to an area of applications without swapping the process heads, or removal of process fiber from one robot to another. In the time sharing mode, only one workstation uses the laser at any given time.
ENERGY-SHARING MODE (Multi-channel beam splitting)
In the energy sharing mode, the beam switch acts as a beam splitter and two or more workstations receive laser power at the same time. With this option, one laser can perform multiple operations simultaneously. Depending on the configuration, it would also function as a beam switch, differing in the fact that when channel one is selected, a portion of the laser power is sent through channel one process fiber and the remainder of the laser power is sent through channel two.