In 1961, Elias Snitzer and colleagues constructed the world's first fiber laser in the former American Optical complex in Southbridge, MA. The first fiber laser used neodymium-doped glass and was pumped by an arc lamp.
E. Snitzer and J. W. Hicks, "Optical Wave-Guide Modes in Small Glass Fibers, I Theoretical," paper TB36, Program of the 1959 Annual Meeting of the Optical Society of America, Vol 49, p. 1128, November 1959.
H. Osterberg, E. Snitzer, M. Polanyi, R. Hilberg, "Optical Wave-Guide Modes in Small Glass Fibers, II Experimental," paper TB37, Program of the 1959 Annual Meeting of the Optical Society of America, Vol 49, p. 1128, November 1959.
E. Snitzer, “Proposed fiber cavities for optical masers”, J. Appl. Phys. 32 (1), 36 (1961)
E. Snitzer, "Optial MASER Action of Nd+3 in a barium Crown Glass," Physical Review Letters, Volume 7, Number 12, pp. 444-446, December 15, 1961.
In 1963-64 Elias Snitzer and Charles J. Koester demonstrated world's first fiber laser amplifier.
C. J. Koester and E. Snitzer, “Amplification in a fiber laser”, Appl. Opt. 3 (10), 1182 (1964)
The optical fiber laser amplifiers enabled construction of the global telecommunications network.
From 1964 as Ph.D. candidate and following as post-doctoral scientist, V. Gapontsev used unique custom-built equipment with single-photon detection limit and picosecond resolution to systematically study multi-photon non-radiative relaxation and excitation transfer in glasses and crystals doped with rare earth, transition metals and uranyl. V. Gapontsev studied over 8000 specimens of glasses and crystals of widely varying structure, composition and doping levels.
In 1971-72 V. Gapontsev and colleagues have developed the world's first high-performance Nd phosphate glass used in industrial production of large rods and slabs. Subsequently, V. Gapontsev and colleagues have developed first industrial-grade ytterbium and erbium laser glasses, as well as chrome-ytterbium-erbium glasses that are used as active gain medium for eye-safe rangefinders. The group also demonstrated first 1.5 μm pulsed lasers with pulse energies up to 100 J.
J. Stone and C. A. Barrus first demonstrated optical pumping a fiber laser a with pulsed dye laser and an argon ion laser through the end of a neodymium-doped fiber.
C. A. Burrus and J. Stone, “Nd3+ doped SiO2 lasers in an end-pumped fiber geometry”, Appl. Phys. Lett. 23 (7), 388 (1973)
As the concept of end-pumping of fiber laser has been demonstrated, several key advantages of fiber lasers have become apparent:
R. J. Mears et. al reported the 1 mW CW operation of a neodymium-doped silica single-mode fibre laser pumped by a GaAIAs laser diode.
"Neodymium-doped silica single-mode fibre lasers" R.J. Mears; L. Reekie; S.B. Poole; D.N. Payne, Electronics Letters, Volume 21, Issue 17, 15 August 1985, p. 738 – 740
From this moment, a rapid growth in the number of papers devoted to fiber lasers as efficient sources for fiber links has begun. The all-solid-state architecture of fiber lasers eliminates the traditional optical discrete components, allowing designing fiber systems in the form of integrated devices that do not need to setup and adjustment.
David Payne at University of Southampton and Emmanuel Desurvire and Randy Giles at Bell Labs invented erbium-doped fiber amplifiers (EDFAs) which revolutionized long-distance communications. These technologies enabled broadband Internet and voice connections benefitting people worldwide.
The transition to dual-clad fibers allowed end-pumping with more powerful multi-mode diode lasers.
E. Snitzer et al., “Double-clad, offset-core Nd fiber laser”, Proc. Conf. Optical Fiber Sensors, Postdeadline paper PD5 (1988)
Bragg gratings have been produced in germanosilicate optical fibers by exposing the core, through the side of the cladding, to a coherent UV two-beam interference pattern with a wavelength near 244 nm.
G. Meltz, W. W. Morey, and W. H. Glenn, Formation of Bragg gratings in optical fibers by a transverse holographic method, Optics Letters Vol. 14, Issue 15, pp. 823-825 (1989)
The use of Bragg gratings as reflectors of the fiber resonator allows construction of all solid state fiber lasers not susceptible to environmental factors such as dust, moisture and free space air perturbations.
An effective method of getting the light into the cladding was discovered by Valentin Gapontsev and Igor Samartsev. Their side-pumping technique allowed many laser diodes to pump one single-mode fiber, making high power, infrared lasers with near perfect beam quality. Lasers which once filled a room were now no bigger than a book. Not only did these discoveries result in a variety of fiber lasers but also high power optical amplifiers. Optical amplifiers convert a small light signal into a powerful beam, often a thousand times brighter, but otherwise identical to the original signal. These optical amplifiers are now used in systems ranging from cable television distribution to air-based networks beaming Internet data directly into offices through the nearest window. Subsequently, several new classes of devices have been invented; amplifiers for different wavelengths of light and others that produce high power, low cost amplification over a wider range of wavelengths.
V. P. Gapontsev and I. E. Samartsev demonstrated 2W CW Er doped fiber lasers at 1.54 μm in 1990 and 5W laser in 1991.
These publications defined prerequisites and laid the groundwork for future development of high power fiber lasers.
V.P. Gapontsev and I.E. Samartsev, High-Power Fiber Lasers, OSA Conference edition, Advanced Solid-State Lasers, Formerly Tunable Solid-State Lasers, March 5-7, 1990, Salt Lake City, Utah, p.127.
V.P. Gapontsev and I.E. Samartsev, High-Power Fiber Lasers, OSA Proceedings on Advanced Solid-State Lasers, 1991, 6 p. 258.
NTO IRE-Polus company was founded in December 1991 and is based in Fryazino, Russia. NTO IRE-Polus designs and manufactures finished fiber devices including fiber optic lasers, components, and test equipment for the medical and other industrial markets. NTO IRE-Polus operates as a subsidiary of IPG Photonics Corporation.
In the first two years of existence, IRE-Polus has changed its focus toward development of high power fiber lasers.
NTO IRE-Polus was created promote industrial adoption of the inventions of V. Gaponstev and A. Shestakov groups in the fields of solid state lasers and laser materials. However, due to crumbling domestic market and inability to penetrate foreign markets, these efforts have been futile.
V. Gapontsev proposed closing ineffective projects and concentrating efforts in the emerging field of fiber lasers and amplifiers. Pioneering results have been demonstrated in USA, UK and in Russia at NTO IRE-Polus.
At his own risk, V. Gapontsev obtained a commercial loan to finance research in this direction. The group of A. Shestakov refused to support the shift in business strategy and parted ways with NTO IRE-Polus in 1994.
Going forward, the company adopted acronym IPG, standing for IRE-Polus Group.
In 1993 IPG has won its first significant contract from the large Italian telecommunications carrier Italtel.
IPG has been called to develop a high-power fiber amplifier. IPG delivered a 200 mW erbium doped amplifier, which has become its first marketable product. Two more research contracts from the same customer quickly followed. In total, the three orders were valued at $750,000.
Following this success, IPG developed erbium fiber amplifiers, which used new innovative pump schematics and fiber solution. Italtel wanted to introduce IPG technology in the market immediately, but their business model couldn’t accept the risk of working with a small supplier from Russia. Italtel convinced V.P. Gapontsev to transfer the component production to Italy. Thus, IPG established a subsidiary in Europe.
In 1994 IPG has found another serious customer in Germany, DaimlerBenz Aerospace (Dornier branch). DBA needed a compact and efficient eye-safe laser transmitter for a helicopter obstacle warning system. V.P. Gapontsev proposed a new fiber solution, and DBA agreed to fund the development if it was made in Germany. As a result, IPG opened a second location in Berlin. One year later IPG bought a small facility near Frankfurt, where IPG built a high-grade research and manufacturing plant.
In 1996, industrial-quality, diffraction-limited 10 W-class cladding-pumped fiber lasers were launched by IPG Photonics.
Laser Focus World, 08/01/2002
Valentin Gapontsev and William Krupke
The fiber laser has a history almost as long as that of the laser itself. Since its invention in 1963 by Elias Snitzer, the fiber laser required almost two decades of development before the first commercial devices appeared on the market in the late 1980s. These lasers used single-mode diode pumping, emitted a few tens of milliwatts, and attracted users because of their large gains and the feasibility of single-mode continuous-wave (CW) lasing for many transitions of rare-earth ions not achievable in the more-usual crystal-laser version. The most well-known application of fiber-laser technology is in 1550-nm erbium-doped fiber amplifiers.
For many laser applications, however, watts of optical power rather than milliwatts are required. The jump to watt-level fiber-laser output occurred in 1990, when a 4-W erbium-doped fiber laser was reported. This development laid the groundwork for ten-watt and higher single-mode fiber lasers suitable for micromachining and other applications-the first true high-power fiber lasers.
The modern high-power fiber laser is pumped by high-power multimode diodes via a cladding surrounding a single-mode core. In end-pumping architecture, multimode diode pump radiation is injected into the pump cladding through an end facet of the composite fiber, propagates along the fiber structure, periodically traversing the doped single-mode fiber core, and produces a population inversion in the core fiber.
A more advanced fully spliced side-pumped fiber laser was developed by IPG Laser (now a subsidiary of IPG Photonics). It includes an active fiber with facets that are free for splicing with other fiberoptic components or gain stages, thus enabling multiple points for injection of pump radiation into the cladding. As a result, a simple scaling of total fiber-laser output power became practical. Other side-pumped techniques include V-groove coupling. In 1996, industrial-quality, diffraction-limited 10-W-class cladding-pumped fiber lasers were launched by IPG Photonics; similar lasers were soon introduced by Polaroid (Cambridge, MA), Spectra Diode Labs (now JDS Uniphase; San Jose, CA), and Spectra Physics (Mountain View, CA).
In 1996 IPG developed pulsed fiber lasers for marking and micromachinig applications.
Ytterbium pulsed fiber lasers have found quick acceptance in marking applications. Compared to the legacy DPSS YAG technology, marking systems based on pulsed fiber lasers are highly compact and energy efficient. The marking quality is improved due to excellent single-mode beam mode. Due to absence of thermal lensing, the laser power can be adjusted on the fly in a wide range of pulse repetition rates independent of the pulse energy.
IPG's compact, air-cooled, maintenance-free OEM pulsed laser modules excel in a variety of micromachining applications including thin foil treatment, resistor trimming, photovoltaics, scribing, texturing and many others.
Reltec Communications becomes IPG's first large OEM customer. The contract is for high-power multi-port amplifiers for broadband fiber-to-the-home systems.
During the next few years, IPG gained reputation of a highly regarded engineering company and a pioneer in advanced high-power fiber lasers and amplifiers. IPG developed hundreds of unique products for various applications and sold them at an annual run rate of about $5 million to customers in Japan and the United States, as well as in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. However, it was clear that IPG could not grow without mass production. In 1997, IPG registered its first large OEM customer sale in fiber amplifiers. The contract was for high-power multi-port amplifiers from Reltec Communications, a manufacturer for broadband fiber-to-the-home systems being deployed by BellSouth in the United States.
The Reltec contract vaulted IPG to the status of a high-quality OEM supplier and, most importantly, transformed IPG into a global telecom active component manufacturing company. To satisfy demand from Reltec and BellSouth, and to serve a growing number of U.S.-based customers, IPG opened manufacturing facilities in Italy and the United States in 1998.
The IPG Photonics Corporation was established with headquarters in Oxford, Massachusetts. The Oxford facility is home to both R&D and production.
By 2000, IPG had grown into a profitable $52 million company. IPG customer list included Alcatel, Fujitsu, Lucent, and Siemens along with Marconi (Reltec). IPG has raised $100 million in exchange for less than 10% of IPG’s equity from a consortium of investors, and was preparing to go public.
In spite of great success in the telecom arena, IPG developed and distributed a variety of other fiber lasers for diverse applications in additional markets. During this period IPG received exciting results in the development of IPG's present flagship technology, the multi-kilowatt diode-pumped fiber lasers.
IPG introduced 100 W single-mode fiber laser using its multifiber side-coupling technology.
Laser Focus World, 08/01/2002
Valentin Gapontsev and William Krupke
The first 100-W-class diffraction-limited fiber laser was introduced by IPG in 2000 using its basic multifiber side-coupling technology. With its high brightness, this laser can be used in welding, sintering, and low-power brazing applications.
In comparison, conventional DPSSLs use diode pump bars (typically producing 40 W of power, each bar consisting of several tens of stripe laser emitters) with an operating lifetime of typically 5000 to 10,000 h. The relatively high unit price of a 40-W bar, combined with an average bar lifetime, can lead to DPSSL lifetimes of less than 8000 h.
Multiple pump modules for a side-pumped fiber laser can be packaged to avoid local regions of intense heat generation (found in all high-power DPSSLs) and the use of simple convective air-cooling (vs. water cooling for DPSSLs). Likewise, in a high-power fiber laser, waste heat generated in the laser gain medium (the fiber) is dispersed over a large surface area, precluding the need to actively cool the laser medium as in the typical DPSSL. Because the fiber can only support the fundamental spatial mode, the beam quality of the fiber laser is insensitive to the power operating point of the laser, which is often not the case for high-power DPSSLs.
In early 2000s IRE-Polus and IPG Photonics developed several prototypes of medical devices based on high power diode and fiber lasers used for research.
IRE-Polus developed devices LSP-"IRE-Polus" based on 1.56 μm fiber lasers (registration in the Ministry of Health of Russia, 2001), 1.94 μm and double-wavelength 0.97 + 1.56 μm (registration 2004). IPG Photonics developed research prototypes of powerful medical devices at 1.94 μm (40 and 110 W) for application in endourology, that were discussed in a research paper by N.M. Fried et al: N.M.Fried, K.E.Murray. High-power Thullium Fiber Laser Ablation of Urinary Tissues at 1.94μm. J. of Endourology, v.19.No1. 2005.pp 25-31.
IPG’s and IRE-Polus’s innovative research work led to IPG’s exceptional portfolio of lasers that are purchased by medical device manufacturers for integration into their finished medical devices and used in a variety of medical applications today.
Dissatisfied with the cost, performance and quality of available components, IPG embarked on a comprehensive strategy of vertical integration.
SPIE Professional, July 2007
By Valentin P. Gapontsev
"By the end of 2000, telecom capital spending had evaporated. Most of the large- and mid-sized telecom hardware and components manufacturers lost 70% to 90% of their business and many others shut their doors. Our revenue was down nearly 60% and yet our suppliers weren’t budging on pricing or terms.
With our future on the line, I thought back to the times before when following the principles of freedom and self-determination had pulled us through. When other companies in our market, even cash-rich companies, had frozen investments and started to cut their staff, we made the critical decision to invest in our future. We invested nearly all of our remaining capital in the development of advanced high-power products, advanced mass production lines and, most importantly, in a high-volume production facility to make our own high-power pump diodes. This facility enabled us to cut our dependence on sole source suppliers and radically cut production costs.
In making this investment, we were effectively betting the company on the competitive benefits of vertical integration. If we could manage the price, quality, and quantity of our components, I knew we could accomplish this goal.
We manufactured everything from the diodes, which pump the amplifiers and lasers, to the various specialty optical fibers that generate and transmit the laser emission, as well as many other optical and optoelectronic components. We believed that with a vertically integrated supply chain we could produce higher-quality diodes for up to 90% less than we paid to our suppliers.
After only three years, we developed world-class pump diodes that exceeded the power, brightness, and reliability of those produced by the leading supplier. But the main benefit was our ability to dramatically reduce manufacturing costs. Moreover, IPG built and deployed the world’s largest pump laser diode production line and manufactured more diodes than all our competitors put together.
The availability of high-quality and low-cost pump diodes opened up an opportunity for IPG in 2003. We introduced to the market a revolutionary new generation of super power multi-kilowatt fiber lasers that, in a short period of time, completely changed the competitive landscape in the metal cutting and welding market segment by displacing conventional crystal and carbon gas lasers. At the same time, working closely with our customers, we have spurred the emergence of major new markets for lasers. After hitting a low point of $22 million in sales in 2002, we have grown to more than $143 million in 2006."
In just a few months over 2002 and 2003 IPG developed multiple kW multi-mode industrial class fiber lasers.
Laser Focus World, 08/01/2002
by Valentin Gapontsev and Willliam Krupke
"Scaling to higher fiber output powers can be accomplished readily by combining the output beams from several 100-W-class fiber lasers. For example, the output beams of seven 100-W fiber lasers are delivered by seven single-mode fibers over a distance of up to 30 m and then combined in a multifiber beam combiner providing an outer beam diameter of 80 μm and a divergence less than 40 mrad. This corresponds to an output beam parameter product of just less than 1.6 mm-mrad (M2 of 5); the combined output power of 700 W can result in a beam intensity at the work piece of greater than 50 MW/cm2. A DPSSL with comparable output power will typically exhibit a beam parameter product of greater than 10 mm-mrad and a resultant 50-times-lower intensity on the workpiece. The 700-W fiber laser is 55 × 60 × 95 cm3 in size and weighs 120 kg.
A 2-kW industrial fiber laser has recently been developed at IPG for heavy-duty metal-welding applications in the auto industry. This laser uses the same multimodule design approach as demonstrated in the 700-W laser and provides for power delivery over a 100-m length with a 200-æm-core-diameter fiber. The output beam quality for this unit is 15 mm-mrad-two to four times better than modern lamp-pumped Nd-YAG lasers at a similar power can provide via fiber delivery. It is anticipated that 4- and 10-kW industrial fiber lasers will follow by the end of 2002. The combined performance parameters of these lasers will allow them to penetrate to the heart of heavy-duty metal cutting, brazing, cladding, and welding applications."
June 2004: IPG Photonics announced 1 kW single-mode output power from Ytterbium fiber laser, emitted from a 12 μm single-mode fiber.
January 2005: IPG Photonics announced 2 kW of single-mode output power from Ytterbium fiber laser, emitted from a 19 μm low mode fiber.
The laser provided record brightness compared to all results and demonstrations to date. IPG Photonics CEO Dr. Valentin Gapontsev presented this achievement at the Photonics West conference held in San Jose, California on January 24th.
V. Gapontsev, D. Gapontsev, A. Ovtchinnicov, N. Platonov, O. Shkurikhin, V. Fomin, A. Mashkin, M. Abramov, A. Ferin, V. Sergeev, I. Zaitsev, "All-fiber format 2 kW single mode CW Ytterbium fiber laser", Photonics West 2005, San Jose, USA, January 22–27, 2005.
IPG Laser GmbH opened a new factory in Burbach, Germany dedicated to manufacturing its unique multi-kilowatt fiber lasers.
The 20,000 sq. foot state-of-the art clean room facility substantially increased production capacity for IPG's high power fiber lasers, enabling high volume industrial production.
"With our new factory in Burbach, IPG can now produce more than 30 kilowatt-class lasers per month. It will be sufficient to fill multiple orders in 2005 for such lasers from our growing backlog," said CEO Valentin Gapontsev. "Now we are building a similar facility in Massachusetts to meet demand for 2006. Over the last three years, IPG has built strategic fully self-sufficient capacities for unique fiber, fiberoptic, and optoelectronic components, including a factory for mass production of what we believe are the highest efficiency and brightness and the most reliable pump laser diodes in production today."
IPG Photonics Corporation introduced a new line of 1 to 25 Watt compact continuous wave (CW) single mode fiber lasers.
Measuring only 230 × 146 × 42 mm (including heat sink and fan) or about the size of a compact disc player, the diode-pumped Ytterbium fiber lasers are ideal for applications that require a highly compact and mobile light source at a cost-effective price, such as micro-welding, bending, sintering, soldering, engraving and marking.
YLM-C Series was made possible because they use IPG's new proprietary high power and high efficiency pump diodes and more advanced multi-clad fibers.
At CLEO 2005 IPG introduced a compact and low cost platform of picosecond fiber lasers operating at 1070 nm wavelength.
The new single-mode laser line is capable of delivering microJoule level energy pulses and is a valuable tool for micromachining, drilling, medical, imaging and scientific applications.
The YLP-PS Series is a Ytterbium fiber laser line (1060-1080 nm) that, in standard configuration, produces single-mode output of up to 10 watts average power with peak powers up to 50 kilowatt and pulse durations of less than 5 picoseconds. Versatile extensions of the source are available and can transform YLP-PS Series into femtosecond, 10 to 100 ps selectable duration, polarization maintaining, microJoule level energy or into broadband "white light" picosecond continuum source broadly operating from 550 to 1800 nm with unprecedented spectral brightness.
At CLEO 2005 IPG introduced a new series of single frequency Erbium fiber lasers operating at 1550 nm with a linewidth of less than 5 kHz.
The new single-frequency lasers are ideal choices for interferometry, coherent beam combining, free-space communication and sensing applications.
The ELR-SF Series of Erbium fiber lasers is available with output powers from 1 Watt to 50 Watts for randomly polarized models and from 1 Watt to 20 Watts for linearly polarized models. Offered in bench-top or rack mounted configurations, the ELR-SF Series has an easy-to-use front panel interface which includes a display monitor, on/off key switch and power control. An RS232 and GPIB interface allows for effortless integration into the user's set-up. Besides the 5 kHz linewidth version, IPG also offers the ELR-SF Series with 100 kHz linewidth.
IPG Laser GmbH announced that IMG GmbH, a developer and manufacturer of shipbuilding production equipment, demonstrated IPG's 10 kW fiber laser welding 6 meter and 12 meter long micro ship panels at IMG's July 11 open house for the shipbuilding industry.
In a hybrid welding process using standard welding heads, IMG showed that a 10 kW fiber laser can weld shipyard steel at high speeds - 6 mm plates at 3.2 m/min and 10 mm plates at 1.5 m/min using 7.8 kW and 10 kW laser power, respectively.
The laser beam with parameter product of 11 mm × mrad was delivered through a 50 meter fiber with a core diameter of 200 µm. As with IPG's other monolithic solid state lasers, the YLR-10000 is robust and reliable in production conditions. IMG, located in the Rostock, Germany's major shipbuilding center, will support its industrial shipyard customers in process development using the higher power levels of the fiber laser. IMG plans to use the 10 kW fiber lasers for hybrid high speed welding of shipyard steel from 5 mm to 15 mm in the production of complete panel welding devices.
IPG raises diode laser standards with its new ultra-reliable, super-efficient and low cost DLR platform.
IPG introduces DLR lasers operating in 900 to 1000 nm spectral range and capable of delivering over 1 kW of optical power through a multimode fiber. The advanced direct diode laser line establishes new performance, reliability and cost standards for this class of systems and opens the door for various new applications in material processing.
The DLR Series is based upon state-of-the-art fiber combining of new super-bright diode modules that IPG had started mass production 18 months earlier. In 2005, each of the diode modules provided up to 20 W power in the 100 μm fiber core, with a numerical aperture less than 0.13.
Fiber Laser Company Leader is Selected Winner in Industrial Products & Services Category.
Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Valentin P. Gapontsev, Ph.D. has won Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Industrial Products and Services category in New England. Dr. Gapontsev was selected by an independent panel of judges and the award was presented at an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 20th anniversary gala event at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel on June 15th, 2006.
V. Fomin, A. Mashkin, M. Abramov, A. Ferin, V. Gapontsev, “3 kW Yb fibre lasers with a single-mode output”, presented at the 3rd International Symposium on High-Power Fiber Lasers and their applications, St. Petersburg, Russia, 26–28 June 2006.
June 19 2007: IPG Laser GmbH, a subsidiary of IPG Photonics Corporation (NASDAQ: IPGP), today announced that it released the world's first commercial three kilowatt continuous wave Ytterbium single mode fiber laser. IPG's multi-kilowatt single mode fiber laser family, with the highest power commercially available, is designed for deep penetration welding, remote welding and cutting, percussion drilling and fuel cell welding.
The new fiber laser represents the first low-cost alternative in deep penetration welding to expensive e-beam technology. Also in contrast to e-beam welding, the new higher power single mode fiber laser does not require operation in vacuum conditions. In addition, it is well-suited for fuel cell welding and directed energy programs because of its excellent beam quality at kilowatt power levels. IPG's new laser also is ideal for a wide range of industrial tasks, including thick plate cutting and welding and percussion drilling, as well as for use on high-strength metals used in the auto industry.
IPG opened a new facility in Novi, Michigan to strengthen support for existing and potential customers in the Midwest.
IPG Photonics has an extensive offering of industrial fiber lasers that are attractive to manufacturers and integrators due to the fiber laser's high-quality beam, low electrical consumption, low maintenance costs and small footprint.
IPG Photonics Corporation announced the pricing of the initial public offering of 9,000,000 shares of its common stock at $16.50 per share.
SPIE Professional, July 2007
By Valentin P. Gapontsev
"IPG Photonics went public at the end of 2006. As a company dedicated to controlling its own destiny, the decision to move forward with a public equity offering was not easy for us. By 2006, however, the potential benefits of an IPO were too compelling to ignore.
Reports from the marketplace told us that it would be hard to increase our penetration much further without providing customers with the financial transparency and broader awareness that publicly held companies enjoy. Going public also was the most reasonable way to provide our long-term investors with the liquidity they deserved.
While we experienced some small changes after becoming a public company, in spirit we are still very much the company I founded in a small lab in Moscow more than 15 years ago. A company dedicated to scientific discovery and technology innovation. And a company willing to risk anything to preserve the freedom we cherish."
IPG Photonics Corporation has opened a new office in Beijing to provide local support and service for the Company's fiber lasers and fiber amplifiers in that region. Office staff will include approximately 30 trained sales, support, applications, technical and administrative personnel from IPG's Chinese distributor, HM Laser.
"Opening an office in Beijing demonstrates IPG's commitment to the China region and will enable the Company to provide prompt and direct technical support," said Dr. Valentin Gapontsev, IPG Photonics' Chief Executive Officer. "We are seeing increased business activity in the evolving Chinese market, and our continued success demands that we have a local team. IPG China will address local market needs and support future regional growth. With our three existing offices in Asia, we now have a solid foothold in the region."
IPG offers its compact, 20 W fiber-coupled laser diodes to OEMs for printing, medical, dental, industrial and telecom applications.
IPG Photonics announced that it is now selling the most powerful and highest brightness fiber-coupled laser diodes on a merchant basis to OEM customers in a variety of industries. Taking advantage of IPG's high volume production capacity and industry-leading quality control, IPG's laser diodes provide over 20 Watts of ultra-reliable output power in a compact size, allowing original equipment manufacturers to lower their cost per Watt and increase equipment lifetimes.
Fiber laser leader to enter additional markets and applications with new pulsed and CW green lasers.
IPG Photonics announced that it has developed two new families of fiber lasers in the green spectrum range allow the company to enter new markets and applications. At output wavelengths of 532 nm, the new pulsed 10 W green fiber laser and continuous wave (CW) 15 W green fiber laser provide the high single-mode beam quality, ease of use and high reliability that IPG's fiber lasers are known to deliver at lower prices than competitive green lasers.
IPG increases support for west coast customers with the opening of a new 8,000 sq. ft. laser microprocessing applications facility.
The Silicon Valley Technology Center (SVTC) will concentrate on the advancement of laser micro-processing for the photovoltaic and medical device industries.
The Silicon Valley Applications lab will coordinate efforts with IPG’s other applications facilities around the world in USA, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan, Korea and China.
IPG Photonics announced the successful test of its new ten kilowatt single-mode fiber laser, a world record in a production laser.
The unique laser produces 9.6 kilowatts of single-mode power through a single fiber at total efficiency exceeding 23%.
The world’s brightest commercial solid state laser enables multiple applications including remote cutting and welding.
IPG Photonics announced the availability of a 100 Watt fiber-coupled laser diode, the most powerful high brightness single-emitter based laser diode.
“This new laser diode delivers up to 100 W power out of a 105 µm core diameter fiber with a numerical aperture lower than 0.12” said Dr. Alex Ovtchinnikov, IPG Photonics Corporation’s Vice President - Components.
“It is assembled using IPG’s long-life 90 µm wide single-emitter chips and proprietary microoptics. The wall-plug efficiency exceeds 50% due to nonsaturated mode of operation at a thermally conductive passive cooling. The package size is an order of magnitude smaller than similar devices on the market. Also taking in account the lowest cost per Watt, the new PLD-100 series is well ahead in performance of any existing fiber-coupled laser diodes available in the market.”
Combining emission of these laser diodes, it is now possible to manufacture high-power diode laser modules or complete systems with output powers up to multiple kilowatts out of a reasonably thin fiber with a narrow-linewidth emission. Such a device provides new opportunities for plastic and metal welding, brazing, cladding, medical and many other applications, says IPG, and simplifies the pumping schemes of superpower fiber and disc lasers.
Dr. Gapontsev Accepts Prestigious Laser Science and Engineering Award Recognized as “Father of Fiber Laser Industry”
IPG Photonics Corporation, the world leader in high power fiber lasers and amplifiers, is proud to announce that Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Valentin Gapontsev was the recipient of the Laser Institute of America’s (LIA) 2009 Arthur L. Schawlow award. The Schawlow award, which was first presented by the LIA in 1982, honors individuals who have made distinguished contributions to applications of lasers in science, industry, education or medicine. The award is named for Professor Arthur L. Schawlow, who received The Nobel Prize in Physics in 1981 for his contribution to the development of laser spectroscopy, and is LIA’s highest achievement award.
IPG Photonics Corporation Enters Emerging Middle-Infrared Laser Markets with Acquisition of Photonics Innovations, Inc.
IPG Photonics acquired a privately-held, Birmingham, Alabama-based Photonics Innovations, Inc. (PII), a maker of active and passive laser materials and tunable lasers for scientific, biomedical, technological, and eye-safe range-finding applications. The acquisition allows IPG to expand its product offerings to the middle infrared (approximately 2 to 5 micron). PII's core capabilities include novel optical and laser materials fabrication, solid state and tunable laser design, and optical and sensing systems development.
PII was established by researchers at The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) to apply proprietary and patented optical materials, lasers, and spectroscopic technologies to the development and commercialization of state-of-the-art optical sensing instruments in rapid sensing, identification, and quantification of agents and materials. In addition to active and passive laser materials and tunable lasers, PII develops affordable and reliable middle-infrared microchip and external cavity broadly tunable light sources for scientific, sensing, medical and defense related applications. It also manufactures integrated state-of-the-art middle-infrared optical sensing instruments for rapid sensing, identification, and quantification of agents and materials.
"With the acquisition of Photonics Innovations, we plan to enhance IPG's product portfolio in middle-infrared spectral range - an exciting emerging market," said Dr. Valentin Gapontsev, IPG Photonics Chairman and CEO. "The combining of our state-of-the-art fiber laser technology with PII's proprietary transition metal doped ZnS and ZnSe based crystal laser materials has opened exciting opportunities to build new perfect hybrid laser sources in the range 2 to 5 μm for various applications. Both companies have complementary expertise and a passion for technological innovations. We look forward to integrating our similar entrepreneurial cultures and further strengthening our leadership position in fiber lasers."
"We are delighted to join IPG Photonics," commented Dr. Sergey Mirov, President of Photonics Innovations, Inc. "As a result of this merger, the combined company now has significantly more resources and the ability to target many new applications in biomedical, sensing, instrumentations, advanced systems, and material processing. IPG is a natural strategic fit for PII and we believe this will benefit both companies' customers."
IPG acquires Cosytronic KG, a specialist in the joining technology with an emphasis on automated welding turnkey solutions.
IPG Photonics acquired privately-held, Germany-based Cosytronic KG (COSY), a specialist in the joining technology with an emphasis on engineering know-how in automated welding turnkey solutions. COSY's core capabilities include the development, engineering and application of new, modern joining techniques and innovative welding tools for many material processing end-markets. The acquisition allows IPG to extend its product offerings to include a welding tool that integrates seamlessly with IPG's fiber laser for target applications in automotive and sheet metal production, among others.
"With the acquisition of Cosytronic, we plan to enhance IPG's product portfolio of laser welding tools with fiber lasers - a promising complementary market for us," said Dr. Valentin Gapontsev, IPG Photonics Chairman and CEO. "Combining our state-of-the-art fiber laser technology with COSY's proven and innovative laser welding technology opens exciting opportunities to build robust integrated robotic solutions for various automotive, sheet metal production and other material applications. Both companies have complementary expertise, strong market reputations and a passion for technological innovations. We look forward to integrating our similar entrepreneurial cultures and further strengthening our leadership position in fiber lasers and solutions."
"We are excited to join IPG Photonics," commented Mr. Heribert Heinz, founder and Managing Director of Cosytronic KG. "The combined company now has significantly more resources to target larger customers and new applications, and the ability to have stronger technical integration of the tool and the laser. IPG is a natural strategic fit for COSY and we believe this will benefit both companies' customers."
The latest commercial product from COSY is the fiber-based Laser-Seam-Stepper for laser welding applications. Laser welding can be applied in car body plants and in the production of sheet metal components with the following advantages over traditional resistance spot welding process:
IPG Photonics received the 2010 Prism Award recognizing technological innovation of photonic products in the Industrial Lasers category.
IPG Photonics was recognized for the Quasi Continuous Wave (QCW) YLR-150/1500-QCW pulsed fiber laser as a means to replace the aging population of inefficient flash lamp-pumped solid state lasers with significantly smaller and longer lasting diode-pumped devices.
The laser can operate in CW or long pulse QCW mode with pulse duration from 10 μs to 50 ms and pulse repetiton rate up to 50 kHz. In the long pulse mode, the laser provides up to 15 Joules or energy per pulse with 1.5 kW peak power out of single-mode fiber. The single-mode beam quality combined with high pulse energy make this laser ideal for micromachining applications of a variety of materials.
IPG's QCW lasers have been introduced in 2009. They are offered with both single-mode or multimode beam quality, the peak power ranges from 1 to 20 kW. Laser pulses can be modulated with analog control to achieve the optimal temporal pulse shape or pulse train for any particular application. The lasers are packaged as OEM YLM modules, end-user friendly YLR rack mounted units and YLS kW-class systems.
June 9, 2011
The 2010 Russian Federation National Award in Science and Technology is conferred to Valentin Gapontsev for his set of innovative designs and his creation of high-quality production of fibre lasers and fibre optic backbone and local connection systems
Valentin Gapontsev was born on February 23, 1939 in Moscow. Dr. Gapontsev holds a Ph.D. in Physical and Mathematical Sciences and has served as Department Chair at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. He is also the Director General of the IRE-Polus research and technology alliance, and the chair of the Board of Directors and Managing Director of the International research and technology corporation IPG Photonics.
Dr. Gapontsev is a leading specialist in the field of laser physics and technology, fibre optic and opto-electronic technologies, and the founder of IPG Photonics research and production association, which develops and produces high-performance fibre lasers in Russia, Germany and the United States.
Dr. Gapontsev’s work, which started about twenty years ago in Russia at IRE Polus research and technology association, is based on his idea of creating optical quantum generators on a fundamentally new technological platform.
His merits include his socio-educational work at laser technology science and education centres, where he has trained young Russian scientists and specialists in the field of laser physics.
High Power Fiber Laser Source with Wavelength for Polymer Welding Developed for European Project POLYBRIGHT
Many polymers transparent to 1 micron absorb well at at longer wavelengths in the infra-red. However, commercially available laser sources emitting at these wavelengths have not been available until recently. In order to extend the limits of polymer welding, laser producer IPG Laser GmbH, located in Burbach/Germany developed such laser sources and enhanced their optical power output. After two years of the project, a new laser source with an optical power of 500 W has been developed: an Erbium multimode fiber laser (ELS-500) emitting at 1567 nm.
IPG expands integrated laser systems offerings in the fine processing markets with the acquisition of JPSA, a global supplier of laser micromachining systems.
The acquisition enables IPG to expand its integrated laser systems product offerings for fine-processing, precision cutting, drilling and micromachining of non-metals, including glass, semiconductors and ceramics. JPSA's systems perform advanced laser micromachining, micro cutting, scribing and laser lift-off for semiconductors, microfluidics, LEDs, thin film solar panels, micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMs), biomedical technology and industrial automation applications.
"This acquisition broadens our customized laser-based systems offerings and provides significant sales synergies," said Dr. Valentin Gapontsev, IPG Photonics Chief Executive Officer. "The combination of JPSA's specialized laser systems and the UV and short pulse fiber lasers that IPG is developing now should allow us to deepen our penetration of the $800 million fine-processing market. At the same time, we plan to capitalize on opportunities to expand the global reach of JPSA's products through IPG's extensive sales and service network. In addition, we expect that the development expertise of the very experienced JPSA team would benefit our capabilities in other micromachining applications."
IPG Photonics Acquires Mobius Photonics to accelerate its entry into the UV laser market and deepen IPG's development team.
Mobius provides high-power pulsed UV fiber lasers for micromachining, wafer dicing and scribing, and microvia drilling.
"The acquisition of Mobius Photonics will augment our current development efforts in UV fiber lasers to quickly penetrate the UV laser market, which we believe could be a significant sales driver for IPG in the coming years. Mobius has deep expertise in UV lasers, a strong patent portfolio and proprietary techniques relating to UV lasers," said Dr. Valentin Gapontsev, IPG Photonics' Chief Executive Officer. "The market has been waiting for a cost-effective, reliable and stable UV fiber laser. Now that we can combine Mobius' UV laser expertise experience with IPG's low-cost, proprietary fiber, pump diode and component technologies, we believe that we can effectively build a presence in the fine processing market."
"This combination will enable us to leverage IPG's industry-leading fiber laser technology to advance Mobius' UV technology and provide our customers with low-cost advanced UV fiber lasers," said Dr. Robert Byer, Mobius' Co-Founder and Chairman. "We are proud of the accomplishments of our talented team and look forward to the many opportunities resulting from this transaction."
E. Shcherbakov, V. Fomin, A. Abramov, A. Ferin, D. Mochalov, and Valentin P. Gapontsev, “Industrial Grade 100 kW Power CW Fiber Laser”, presented at Advanced Solid State Lasers 2013, Paris, France, 27 October–1 November 2013.
IPG delivered the first commercial 100 kW laser to NADEX Laser R&D (Nagoya City, Japan) for welding 300-mm-thick metal parts.
Laser Focus World, 12/06/2013
The industrial-class 1070.5-nm-emitting laser, which stands only 1.86 × 3.6 × 0.8 m and has a mass of 3600 kg, is a part of effort to develop a robust laser-based manufacturing environment using off-the-shelf hardware.
The laser was developed for heavy-duty applications such as shipbuilding (mobile cutting and welding), remote welding and cutting of large-scale products in the field, “in-field” ultrahard rock and concrete cutting and drilling, construction of components for nuclear power plants, and other heavy industrial deep-penetration welding and cutting.
The laser’s output is directed into a 10-m-long, 300-μm-diameter feeding fiber; this output in turn can be coupled into a 50-m-long, 500-μm-diameter process fiber for remote delivery of the laser’s output. With an optical output of 101.3 kW at the output end of the process fiber and a 286 kW electrical power consumption, the complete system has a high wall-plug efficiency of 35.4%.
The laser is made up of 90 individual laser modules, each with a 1.4 kW optical output and a beam quality (M2) of 1.05. Six integrated fiber-to-fiber, 19-to-1 combiners make up the first beam-combining stage; the second stage contains a single fiber-to-fiber, 7-to-1 combiner. The measured beam-parameter-product (BPP) value of the beam exiting the feeding fiber is less than 16 mm*mrad, while the BPP of the beam exiting the process (remote delivery) fiber is 25 mm*mrad.
The laser’s optical output changes by no more than 0.2% root-mean-square (RMS) over 30 minutes, says Markevitch. In addition, there are no detectable nonlinear effects in the output spectrum, even at highest power. The laser turns on in 40 μs and off in 25 μs, and can be modulated digitally or analog at rates up to 5 kHz. The entire system is easy to transport.
To satisfy the fast growing demand for fiber lasers, IPG Photonics expands its Oxford Headquarters with a new production facility. The new building increases production capacity of packaged diodes, high power laser modules and green and UV lasers.
New Portfolio of Lasers builds on IPG’s Unequalled Fiber Laser Experience Providing Customers Better Value and Extending Available Applications
IPG Photonics Corporation, the world leader in fiber lasers, announced at Photonics West 2014, a wide portfolio of new products including:
1) A new ECO family of kW class Ytterbium fiber lasers with a record wall-plug efficiency exceeding 45%* and an estimated operation time between service intervention of over 5 years under normal operating times and conditions.
*YLS-ECO WPE has reached 50% in 2016
2) A new MEGA Pulse line of nanosecond fiber lasers with energy per pulse up to 100 mJ and an average power up to 5 kW.
3) A unique family of powerful single-mode green fiber lasers providing up to 500 W average power in CW and QCW modes with a wall-plug efficiency above 15%.
4) A broad range of high power visible fiber lasers with a wavelength selection of green to red.
5) Highly efficient and cost effective industrial grade UV fiber lasers in both 355 nm and 266 nm, operating in pulsed or CW modes.
6) New families of industrial pico and femtosecond fiber lasers with a high energy per pulse and average power for different wavelengths.
7) Various versions of pulsed pure fiber and hybrid fiber-to-the-crystal lasers for the MIR spectrum range of 2 µm up to 4.5 µm, including the first practical femtosecond laser source in 2400-2500 nm spectral range based on Cr:ZnS polycrystal elements.
“We are pleased to introduce an amazing portfolio of new lasers for 2014,” said Dr. Valentin Gapontsev, CEO of IPG Photonics. “The lasers cover a broad segment of the optical spectrum, including near and mid-infrared, visible and ultraviolet wavelengths. We are unveiling a group of products that provide a multitude of new solutions to customers, all of which are designed with industry-leading product performance, reliability and cost of investment and ownership. Our expanded selection of lasers allows new and existing customers to derive significant benefits, while increasing the available markets for IPG lasers, including semiconductors, LED, solar, displays, processing of thin films, entertainment, 3D cinema, 3D printing and many other exciting applications.”
IPG Photonics received the 2015 Prism Award recognizing technological innovation of photonic products in the Industrial Lasers category.
IPG Photonics was recognized for the GLPN-500-R, a 500 W quasi-continuous-wave green single-mode fiber laser for bringing the advantages of fiber laser technologies to the visible spectrum with high output power, excellent wall-plug efficiency, and low cost. This product provides industrial-grade reliability, excellent output beam quality, and flexibility of fiber delivery for industrial manufacturing applications from copper welding to solar cell manufacturing.
IPG increases support for west coast customers with the renovation of its 13,000 sq. ft. laser processing applications facility. The Silicon Valley Technology Center (SVTC) tripled its applications lab space to accommodate IPG’s flagship Multi-Axis Systems as well as a broad range of IPG’s laser product offerings. The expanded facility also includes a metallography laboratory for surface analysis, providing support to both SVTC customers and to all other IPG application labs worldwide.
Laser illuminated digital projection is the future of the digital cinema industry. Spectacular color purity, high brightness and longevity make lasers the illumination technology of choice. IPG Photonics, the leading manufacturer of high-performance fiber lasers, has developed cutting-edge technology extending the benefits into the visible light spectrum.
The RGB-3P/6P Laser Luminaire is the first IPG product specifically designed for state-of-the-art cinema, theme park and other entertainment markets. The 6P fiber Laser Luminaire system has laser linewidths tuned to minimize speckle ensuring superior image quality. Flexible Laser Luminaire architecture is scalable from 20 klm to >300 klm combined 6P/3P light output. Functionality and 2D/3D image quality of 6P Laser Luminaire has been demonstrated using leading edge third party 4K cinema projector heads.
IPG Photonics new facility in Birmingham, Alabama is under construction. The facility will host center for Mid-IR hybrid-fiber lasers, including R&D, Manufacturing, Sales, Service and Applications Labs, bringing IPG closer to its customer base in South-East United States.
IPG expands laser factory in Burbach, Germany. The new building with a floor space of approx. 11,000 m² will increase research, development and manufacturing capacities of mid and high power fiber laser product lines. Including this new facility, the total floor space of IPG Germany will reach ~38,000 m².
IPG Photonics Corporation (NASDAQ: IPGP) announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Menara Networks, Inc., an innovator of enhanced optical transmission modules and systems, allowing IPG to offer more integrated telecom solutions and expanding IPG’s current telecom product offerings. Menara’s products are deployed in leading cable multi-system operators (MSOs), carriers and data centers in North America and in selected international networks.
"IPG delivered another year of record results in 2016 exceeding $1 billion in sales for the first time as we celebrate our 10th anniversary as a public company," said Dr. Valentin Gapontsev, IPG Photonics' Chief Executive Officer. "For the fourth quarter of 2016 we reported revenue and EPS above our guidance ranges. Record sales of $280.1 million increased 25% year-over-year for the fourth quarter driven by continued strength in materials processing. We achieved a strong gross margin of 55.5% and a 22% year-over-year increase in earnings per diluted share to a record $1.39, demonstrating the leverage in our operating model."
IPG has acquired OptiGrate Corporation, a pioneer and leading manufacturer of the highest-quality chirped volume Bragg grating (VBG) technologies. OptiGrate VBG-based components enable dramatic performance improvement, miniaturization and cost reduction of ultrafast pulsed lasers for micro materials processing, medical and other applications.
IPG Photonics has acquired Innovative Laser Technologies (ILT), designer and manufacturer of high-precision laser-based systems, accelerating IPG’s ability to deliver best-in-class standardized and turnkey systems solutions to the medical device industry and other key end user markets.
ILT is a designer and manufacturer of laser-based systems used to produce high-value, critical components primarily for the medical device industry. ILT provides its medical device OEM customers with a full suite of turnkey solutions, including customized machine engineering, laser application design, and integration services as well as full post-integration support. The company’s systems incorporate user-friendly control software (HMI-2200), which is qualified for medical device manufacturing. The HMI-2200 software enables seamless data collection and transfer between their customers’ manufacturing execution systems (MES) and their laser solutions. IPG has been a significant supplier of laser sources to ILT over the last several years. ILT has a reputation for quality, flexibility and innovation, with leading medical device OEMs and Fortune 500 companies as customers.
“Over the last several years, IPG developed and offered custom and standard laser-based systems for high-precision welding, cutting, marking, drilling, cladding, and other processing of metal, ceramic, semiconductor and thin films for customers in automotive, aerospace, railway, energy, electronics, consumer and other industries,” said Dr. Valentin Gapontsev, IPG Photonics’ CEO. “ILT has a proven track record producing leading-edge systems for medical device manufacturers, one of the fastest growing markets for fine welding and cutting applications. The addition of ILT’s automation and application expertise and best-in-class specialty software will allow IPG to deeply penetrate medical device applications and accelerate expansion into the many non-medical device applications requiring precision laser solutions. In addition, we believe IPG’s leading-edge fiber lasers, vertical manufacturing, and international distribution and service capabilities can expand the addressable market for ILT’s industry-leading systems.”
IPG Photonics Corp. has acquired Laser Depth Dynamics (LDD), an innovative provider of in-process quality monitoring and control solutions for laserbased welding applications.
LDD’s proprietary inline coherent imaging (ICI) technology is the first industrial solution to enable direct measurement of weld penetration depth with high precision and in real time by adding a near-infrared measurement beam to the welding head. ICI technology offers superior accuracy, speed and cost-performance, compared with today’s commonly-used indirect measurement techniques such as destructive sectioning. LDD’s solutions also support advanced monitoring features including seam tracking, height following and 3D volume imaging in a single tool. LDD’s flagship imaging systems can be integrated with leading welding head technologies including IPG’s revolutionary wobble welding heads, which provide unmatched process consistency and ultrahigh-power welding heads for deep penetration welding.
“LDD’s weld monitoring systems and accessories significantly enhance IPG’s portfolio of industry-leading beam delivery products and laser welding solutions,” said Felix Stukalin, IPG’s senior vice president of North American operations. “LDD’s ability to monitor weld quality in real time and ensure process consistency is increasingly important within automated production environments. We believe this technology, when combined with IPG’s expanding portfolio of welding solutions, will help drive adoption of laser-based welding within the automotive, medical, consumer products and aerospace industries.”
IPG is a global company with manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Germany, Russia and Italy, and regional sales offices in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, India, Turkey, France, Spain, Poland, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, Brazil and Mexico.
IPG will continue to expand global reach to attract new customers.
IPG principal end market is in materials processing applications in general manufacturing, consumer electronics and appliances, automotive, aerospace, heavy industry & transport, and energy sector. We are expanding our available market in micro-processing applications for aerospace, medical device manufacturing, semiconductors, LED, solar, thin-film processing, circuit boards and flat panel display. Other growth opportunities include additive manufacturing, entertainment and projection and medical instrument integration markets.
High power laser sales continue to grow at a fast rate.
The sales of high power lasers increased 50% in 2017 and 12.9 times since 2009.
IPG offers the highest power fiber lasers on the market that also have the industry leading brightness, wall plug efficiency and reliability.
Our operating income increased 51% in 2017 and 60.5 times since 2009.
Gross margins grew to 56.6% in 2017 as a result of our ability to reduce production costs even as we brought on line substantial new plant and equipment.
The Company computes net income per share in accordance with ASC 260-Earnings Per Share
Fiber laser technology has made a revolutionary impact on laser manufacturing
The amazing success of fiber laser technology and its revolutionary impact on laser-based manufacturing bear the hallmarks of more widely publicized technology game changers, such as the displacement of vacuum tubes by the transistor. The analogy is apt when we consider that legacy lasers are bulky, inefficient and short lived devices which are difficult to assemble and require frequent service. Fiber lasers, on the other hand, are compact, highly efficient and robust devices which offer service-free operation through the entire application lifetime.
The simplicity and elegance of the fiber laser account for its efficiency, compactness, robustness and low cost which drive its enormous success in the marketplace.
The fabulous success over the first 50 years of industrial lasers owes itself to the laser’s ability to convert common sources of energy into highly directed beams. To accomplish this task, every laser is comprised of its energy source, a method of coupling that energy into the laser cavity, and a method of delivering the resultant laser beam to the workpiece. The technical advantages of fiber are apparent in each stage of the architecture.
Energy Source: Legacy lasers utilize numerous energy sources ranging from lamps, RF plasmas and even chemical reactions. Common drawbacks of these energy sources include poor energy conversion efficiency, frequent service requirements and environmentally unfriendly consumables. Fiber lasers utilize long-lived semiconductor diode lasers to efficiently convert electricity into light, and thus require no service or consumables.
Energy Coupling: Conventional laser optical cavities convert input energy within bulky air or gas-filled spaces. Large cavities are necessary due to the inefficiency of gas lasing or the need to insert bulk optical elements within the cavity. Fiber lasers are incredibly compact because they convert semiconductor diode energy into useful laser beams within a fiber no thicker than a human hair.
Laser Beam Delivery: Legacy lasers utilize complex optics to extract the laser beam and deliver it to the workpiece. For example, a sealed window may be needed to isolate exotic or noxious chemicals inside the laser. External steering optics are often needed to deflect the laser output onto its target. In contrast, flexible optical fiber provides an elegant built-in, ideal beam delivery system.
The True Industrial Laser: Both key fiber laser elements, semiconductor diodes and optical fiber, lend themselves to mass production with outstanding process control and repeatability, while the key fiber laser assembly step is fusion splicing of optical fibers. Compare this with the bulky hermetic laser cavities, precision optical alignments and ultra-flat optical surface requirements typical of legacy lasers, and it’s apparent that the simplicity and elegance of the fiber laser accounts for its efficiency, compactness, robustness and low cost which drive its enormous success in the marketplace.
The highest output powers and superior beam quality at the lowest cost
IPG's unique technology platform allows our products to have higher output powers and superior beam quality at a lower cost than can be achieved by any other competing technology. Our proprietary designs are based around innovative pumping techniques and high-performance components perfected by IPG over a 20-year period of intense investment and innovation. The cornerstones of IPG technology are our cladding side-pumping technique and distributed single-emitter diode pumping architecture.
Optical FiberThe basic building block of IPG fiber laser technology is optical fiber. Optical fiber is a long cylindrical piece of highly transparent glass. Typical fiber core diameters range from a few microns to hundreds of microns, while lengths range from meters to many kilometers. The huge aspect ratio of the fiber length versus diameter is responsible for many of the unique properties of fiber lasers. The glass fiber is an optical waveguide able to contain and propagate light with negligible loss. When the total internal reflection condition is satisfied, light propagates inside the fiber with negligible radiative losses through the wall of the fiber. Optical fibers are classified as passive or active. Passive fibers transport light, while active fibers introduce amplification by mixing the propagating light with pump laser light in the presence of rare earth metal ions embedded in the fiber core.
Pumping DiodesIPG’s best-in-class diode pump technology leverages the vast telecommunication industry experience and technology investment. Our single emitter diodes are manufactured using telecom-proven technology and processes, and each wafer is qualified to rigorous telecommunication industry standards, which sets IPG apart from alternative industrial pump products using short-lived diode bars and bar-stack technologies. As a result, IPG single emitter diodes offer an order of magnitude higher pumping brightness and up to double the power efficiency of bar-stack pumps. Single emitter pumps are able to use simple water or even forced air cooling, as opposed to bars-stacks which require expensive, unreliable and complex microchannel coolers using high pressure deionized water.
Fiber has unique qualities that make it the superior choice as the active gain medium for laser resonators
Fiber’s unique properties make it an ideal active gain medium and laser resonator material. Fiber is flexible and easy to handle. Optical fiber’s huge surface to volume aspect ratio facilitates heat removal and helps to avoid thermal lensing. Fibers of different types, compositions and core diameters can be spliced to construct complex optical systems combining the pump sources, optical amplification and beam delivery fiber without the need for free space optics and their inherent risks of contamination, damage and or misalignment. Fiber is a hugely flexible medium which enables a vast variety of design options and functions. Examples of specialty optical fiber types are single-mode and multi-mode fibers, photonic crystal fibers, and fibers composed of diverse materials whose optical properties vary in both the axial and radial dimensions. Of particular importance to IPG are fibers used for cladding pumping. These fibers consist of a single-mode core, used as active gain medium, surrounded by a larger diameter optical waveguide for propagating multi-mode diode pump light.
Fiber laser is the most efficient power combiner and brightness converter
Semiconductor diodes efficiently convert electrical pump energy to near-infrared light. A single diode has limited power (a few Watts per device) and limited brightness. Several techniques combine multiple diodes into a single beam to enhance power, reaching combined outputs ranging from a few tens to a few thousands of watts, but attaining similar diode brightness improvement is elusive. Available beam combining techniques for scaling diodes to higher brightness are complex, expensive and lossy, and provide questionable beam quality. The IPG fiber laser is the most efficient power combiner and brightness converter technology, and it is capable of producing perfect beams offering kilowatts of power at the lowest cost.
Side cladding-pumped technology revolutionized high power fiber lasers
In IPG’s unique and proprietary design, the multi-mode output of broad-area single emitter diodes is collected into fibers with core diameters as small as 100 microns. Using the side-pumping technique developed by Dr. Valentin Gapontsev and Dr. Igor Samartsev, the light from many pump diodes is efficiently coupled into the cladding of an active gain fiber. The pump light undergoes multiple reflections within the cladding while frequently intersecting the single-mode core, where the pump is absorbed and re-emitted by rare-earth ions. This elegant mechanism brightness converts multi-mode diode light into single-mode fiber laser light with exceptional efficiency.
Side pump technique for transferring energy from a large area laser diode into a small (single mode) fiber core to allow light to be amplified
Our pumps have proven expected lifetime of greater than 100,000 hours. IPG’s single emitter diode lifetimes exceed 100,000 hours, about an order of magnitude longer than the measured lifetimes of bar-stack alternatives. Unlike traditional alternatives, frequent on/off modulation of IPG diodes does not affect anticipated lifetime. IPG pumps are hermetically sealed to telecom standards, so are unaffected by the most aggressive industrial environments including humidity, dust and vibration. The exceptionally high reliability of IPG’s single emitter pumps is proven in our laboratories and substantiated by our excellent field reliability.
Single Emitter Pump Advantages
IPG’s single emitter diode lifetimes exceed 100,000 hours, about an order of magnitude longer than the measured lifetimes of bar-stack alternatives. Unlike traditional alternatives, frequent on/off modulation of IPG diodes does not affect anticipated lifetime. IPG pumps are hermetically sealed to telecom standards, so are unaffected by the most aggressive industrial environments including humidity, dust and vibration. The exceptionally high reliability of IPG’s single emitter pumps is proven in our laboratories and substantiated by our excellent field reliability.
|Bar / Bar Stack||IPG Single Emitter Pump|
|Individual Emitter Output Power, W||1-2||6-10+|
|Coupling Efficiency, %||75 / 50||90-95|
CW MTBF, hrs
|5,000 - 10,000||> 200,000|
|QCW MTBF, hrs||2,000- 5,000||> 200,000|
|Wall-plug Efficiency. % (in fiber)||25-35||50-60|
Advantages of Distributed Single Emitter Pumping Architecture
|Distributed Single-Emitter Pumping||Bar Pumping|
IPG uses a distributed single-emitter pump architecture that is free of the drawbacks of bar pumping. Single emitter pumps form an ensemble of independent individual elements. Contrary to bars, the failure of any number of single emitter pumps does not affect the performance and reliability of the remaining pump ensemble. Distributed pumping’s advantages include scalability, their modular design and flexibility, simple thermal management, virtually unlimited pump redundancy and ease of diode replacement. Distributed pumping is alignment-free and is thus only truly service-free pump solution – a convenience only found in fiber lasers.
Laser diode bars, also known as monolithic laser diode arrays, combine multiple emitters along a large area chip. Emitter count on a single bar varies from 10 to 100. The bar architecture forces all emitters to share a common electrical current source and thermal management system. Thermal and electrical cross-talks seriously limit bar lifetimes and place severe constraints on their performance. The lifetime of a bar or a bar-stack is generally limited by its weakest emitter or an unreliable microchannel water cooling system. The inferiority of bar-based pumping schemes for lasers is a significant driver behind the rapid adoption of fiber laser technology over disk or rod-based solid-state lasers.
High Power Fiber Laser
V.P. Gapontsev and I.E. Samartsev. High-Power Fiber Laser // Conference edition. Advanced Solid-State Lasers, Formerly Turnable Solid-State Lasers, March 5-7, 1990, Salt Lake City, Utah, p.127.
V.P. Gapontsev and I.E. Samartsev. High-Power Fiber Laser // OSA Proceedings on Advanced Solid-State Lasers, 1991, 6 p. 258.
Diode Pump Laser Development
V. Gapontsev, I. Berishev, G. Ellis, A. Komissarov, N. Moshegov, O. Raisky, P. Trubenko, V. Ackermann, E.
Shcherbakov, J. Steinecke, and A. Ovtchinnikov, “High efficiency 970 nm multimode pumps”, Photonics West, San
Jose, CA, January 24th 2005, SPIE Proceedings 5711-6
I. Berishev, A. Komissarov, N. Moshegov, P. Trubenko, L. Wright, A. Berezin, S. Todorov, and A. Ovtchinnikov,
“AlGaInAs/GaAs Record High Power-Conversion-Efficiency and Record High Brightness Laser Diodes”,
Photonics West, San Jose, CA, January 24th 2005, SPIE Proceedings 5738-5.
V. Gapontsev, I. Berishev, G. Ellis, A. Komissarov, N. Moshegov, A. Ovtchinnikov,O. Raisky, P. Trubenko, V. Ackermann, E. Shcherbakov
"9xx nm single emitter pumps for multi-kW systems"
High-Power Diode Laser Technology and Applications IV, edited by Mark S. Zediker, Proc. of SPIE Vol. 6104, 61040K, (2006)
Definition: lasers with a doped fiber as gain medium, or (sometimes) just lasers where most of the laser resonator is made of fibers
RP Photonics Consulting GmbH
Dr. Rüdiger Paschotta
Fiber lasers: The state of the art
Fiber lasers are compact and rugged, don't go out of alignment, and easily dissipate thermal energy. They come in many forms, sharing technology with other type of lasers but providing their own unique advantages.
April 2012, Laser Focus World
Vertical Integration Strategy
Through our complete control over the quality, performance and cost of critical components, IPG is able to deliver laser solutions consistently exceeding our customers’ expectations.
Dissatisfied with the performance and quality of available components, IPG embarked on a comprehensive strategy of vertical integration. We design and manufacture all key components, from our active and passive fibers, highest quality seed and pump diodes, active fiber blocks and modular resonators, pump couplers, combiners, acousto-optical modulators, fiber volume Bragg gratings, nonlinear and active crystals, various micro and bulk optics, power supplies and controllers responsible for the lasers’ performance, to delivery cables, the processing delivery heads, beam switches and water chillers directly responsible for our customers’ user experience. Through our complete control over the quality, performance and cost of critical components, IPG is able to deliver laser solutions consistently exceeding our customers’ expectations.
Seamless Integration, Relentless Quality Control
Our vertical integration strategy allows IPG to closely couple laser and component developments resulting in fully optimized fiber lasers. This holistic approach to product design improves product performance and greatly reduces time-to-market. Every element of an IPG laser solution is designed for cost and manufactured in an environment of relentless quality control. Since components are developed within IPG’s own manufacturing centers of excellence, our cutting-edge technologies emerge uniquely ready for industrial deployment.
The IPG Innovation and Supply Chain
IPG’s growing manufacturing footprint includes sites in the US, Germany, Russia and Italy. Ownership of the entire innovation and supply chain truly sets IPG apart through our ability to fully control the performance, quality, capacity and cost of our products. IPG application labs distributed worldwide rapidly bring our new technologies to our customer base allowing collaborative innovation to continuously refuel the new product pipeline.
IPG’s vertical integration turns gallium arsenide and glass into seamlessly engineered laser solutions
IPG’s vertical integration begins with the transformation of raw materials into our diode and fiber components. IPG’s state-of-the-art wafer fab fabricates the world’s finest high power semiconductor lasers from bare gallium arsenide, while our fiber fabs draw spools of optical fiber from glass preforms grown in-house. Diode chips and optical fiber spools are integrated into IPG’s proprietary component packages which are further integrated into laser modules, each capable of > 1 kW of fiber laser output.
The integration of multiple module building blocks into a final assembly provides our fiber lasers with IPG’s trademark scalability and reliability. Each module operates independently, meaning no module failure can disable an entire laser. Every IPG laser can be scaled up in power and reliability by simply including more modules in the design. Following this approach, IPG delivered a 100,000 Watt laser which leverages the same basic design as our 1,000 Watt lasers.
IPG owns one of the world's most advanced wafer manufacturing facilities. IPG controls all wafer manufacturing steps starting from polycrystalline silicon purification. Wafers are grown by solid state molecular beam epitaxy, resulting in low defect density and uniformity of optoelectronic parameters across large deposition areas.
Diode chips are manufactured from the polished wafers. The wafers are patterned, subjected to several steps of photo lithograthy, photo resist, etching and metallization, and are cut in small chips.
IPG is the world’s largest manufacturer of high power diode lasers. Multiple MegaWatts of rated diode power roll out of our highly automated factories on a quarterly basis. Over a decade of intense innovation and investment results in diodes which are brighter, more reliable, efficient and compact than any competing diode solution.
IPG's diode pump lasers and active fiber block are integrated into compact and efficient laser modules. A typical ytterbium module operating at 1070 nm provides typical single-mode output in the range of 500 to 1500 W with wall-plug efficiency exceeding 50%. The modules employ parallel pumping architecture (hot pumping redundancy), have very simple cooling design, excellent mechanical and thermal stability, and are not sensitive to dust and vibration.
Fiber manufacturing begins with fabrication of an optical glass "preform" with a carefully controlled refractive index profile. The preform is made by three chemical vapor deposition methods: inside vapor deposition, outside vapor deposition, and vapor axial deposition.
The preform is placed in a drawing tower, where its tip is heated and the optical fiber is pulled out as a string.
IPG manufactures a complete suite of fiber collimators, modulators, isolators as well as various bulk optics used in manufacturing of IPG's fiber lasers and hybrid fiber-to-bulk lasers.
The fiber bock is the most efficient power combiner and brightness converter. The active fiber resonator is monolithic (all solid state), efficiently cooled, absorbs all pump energy, insensitive to dust, temperature and vibration. The conversion efficiency of diode pump light exceeds 70%.
Fiber lasers have established a superior position in high average power multi-kW industrial laser applications. High power fiber lasers possess unique combination of properties that make them excel over conventional non-laser and competing laser technologies on both quality and cost: inherently higher brightness; superior reliability/ hot redundancy; wall-plug efficiency exceeding that of high brightness direct diodes; modularity and scalability allowing for easy maintenance and low down time; fiber optic delivery with a wide choice of output fiber core diameters optimized for the application; compact rugged design; ease of integration with scanners and optical heads; availability of beam switches, couplers and shearers providing unique versatility.
IPG manufactures a complete suite of optical couplers, beam shutters and multi-channel beam switches. These accessories greatly expand fiber laser functionality. A single laser can be used at several working cells simultaneously (energy share) and/or in succession (time and energy share), increasing process speed, maximizing throughput and allowing the use of a given laser in several applications. Couplers, shutters and switches also protect the laser and feed fiber and allow fast and easy exchange of delivery fiber parameters.
IPG Photonics’ collimators are available from 50 to 200 mm focal length in D25, D30 and D50 packages. The collimators are available with either water-cooled or air-cooled optics, an adjustable focus and are fitted with QBH/FCH-8, QD/ FCA and FCH-16 bayonet types for easy connection to any of our feed or process fibers.
IPG offers delivery and process fibers of various length and core diameter. Feeding fibers are available at 50, 100, 200 and 300 μm fiber core diameters. Process fibers are available at 100, 150, 200, 300, 400, 600, 800 and 1,000 μm fiber core diameters with lengths up to 100 meters. The fibers are configured with QBH compatible HLC or QD compatible LCA bayonets and adaptors. Custom connectors are available upon request. Custom process lengths and diameters can be special ordered for process fibers.
IPG manufactures advanced digital power supplies featuring integrated safety, safe switching and ON/OFF time ≤ 100 msec.
IPG manufactures laser processing systems for flatbed and multi-axis cutting, drilling and welding, robotic laser production cells for welding, cladding, coating and hardening, laser systems for micromachining, selective material removal and annealing and highly customized systems for special applications.
IPG Photonics' reliable, compact and energy efficient fiber lasers offer ultimate flexibility in materials processing applications. Fiber lasers are power scalable with no change in beam mode parameters, making the same laser equally suited for high, medium and low power applications. A wide range of optical heads and scanners allows fiber lasers to be easily optimized for different applications from precision cutting to welding, marking and surface treatment.
IPG develops and manufactures CNC coordinate systems for flatbed, multi-axis, movable table, and other types of laser machines. These precision coordinate systems are designed with rigid vibration-absorbing granite bases and fast linear motors.
More recently, IPG extended our vertical integration strategy into beam delivery optics and switches. Our expertise with glass, long established through fiber manufacture, enables IPG to manufacture the finest bulk optical elements which are specially engineered to withstand the high brightness and power levels unique to fiber lasers. IPG cutting and welding heads are specifically designed for each product, ensuring our customers enjoy a seamlessly engineered machining solution on their factory floor.
Darren Dahl, Contributing Editor, Inc.
Valentin Gapontsev was fed up with outsourcing. His company, IPG Photonics, based in Oxford, Massachusetts, had several long-term contracts with manufacturers in the U.S. and Austria to produce vital components for its lasers. When the Nasdaq crashed in 2000, taking the market for IPG's products with it, Gapontsev tried to renegotiate the terms of those contracts. One U.S.-based supplier refused to budge. Even worse, it filed a lawsuit and threatened to seize IPG's assets if the company didn't hand over $36 million by 2002.
That's when Gapontsev, a self-described control freak, made a vow: He would never outsource again. It wouldn't be easy, but he decided to do away with suppliers altogether. "More outsourcing would be absolutely the worst thing a company like ours could do," he says. "If we could control the price, quality, and quantity of our components, I knew we could control our own destiny."
Gapontsev's plan sounds radical. The overwhelming trend in business today is toward sending more, not less, production out of house. But many companies are finding it difficult to manage outsourcing, particularly when dealing with suppliers in far-flung countries like China and India, says Bill Swanton, a manufacturing analyst at AMR Research in Boston. After factoring in headaches such as long lead times and poor quality control, some businesses are deciding that it's just not worth it. The rise in counterfeiting is also making high-tech manufacturers wary of handing over intellectual property to foreign vendors. "A growing number of manufacturers have decided to keep their secret sauce here," Swanton says.
That's precisely what IPG has chosen to do. When Gapontsev--a laser glass researcher at the Russian Academy of Sciences for 25 years--founded IPG in Moscow in 1991, one of his main motivations was to gain control of his livelihood. "I wanted independence," he says. "Starting a business gave me freedom." From the outset, he was determined to build a hands-on company run by engineers, not by marketing experts or finance people.
In 1998, Gapontsev moved his headquarters to Oxford to capitalize on the technology boom, and sales began to take off. By 2000, IPG had become a primary supplier of lasers that pump information along fiber-optic cables to the world's major telecommunication providers, including Lucent Technologies and Italy's Marconi. Thanks to the buzz surrounding the telecom industry, IPG--with manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Germany, Italy, and Russia--raised $100 million from investors in 2000 and was preparing to go public. When telecoms started to tank, he knew he had to make a drastic change.
It wasn't easy. Like many U.S. manufacturers that are opting to stay local, IPG was forced to invest heavily in highly automated production facilities to cut costs. In 2001, Gapontsev plowed the remainder of a recent round of financing, more than $45 million, into an ambitious overhaul of IPG's U.S. and German locations. The Oxford campus, which was completed last year, now boasts 125,000 square feet of laboratories, offices, and automated production lines that use robotics to assemble parts. To staff the facility, Gapontsev tapped local community colleges and universities, including MIT. He also hired several independent distributors to set up sales offices in Korea, Japan, India, and the United Kingdom. IPG now employs 750 people at eight locations worldwide, compared with 202 in 2000.
Gapontsev's workload has increased accordingly. He still calls most of the shots at the company and spends two or three weeks each month traveling around the globe to check in on each location and to visit key customers. "I racked up 500,000 frequent-flier miles last year," says Gapontsev, who owns homes in the U.S., Germany, and Russia. IPG's chief financial officer, Tim Mammen, is on the road almost as much, coordinating lines of credit with local banks, overseeing finances at each location, and keeping an eye on currency fluctuations. To streamline its accounting process, IPG recently installed a new Web-based system that will link the financial information from each office.
For the first time, IPG is equipped to produce every critical part of its lasers, from diodes, which generate the laser's burst, to fiber cable, which transmits the laser beams. Thanks to the streamlined production process--not to mention lower shipping bills and the elimination of premiums charged by vendors--IPG now spends less money making its own components than it did buying parts from suppliers. Diodes, for example, are 90 percent cheaper to produce in-house. The savings let IPG charge less than its rivals, which has helped it corner 65 percent of the $123 million fiber laser market.
IPG's sales, which bottomed out at $22 million in 2002, jumped to $96 million last year. Having settled the lawsuit with its former supplier in 2003 for an undisclosed sum, the company has been profitable the past two years, Gapontsev says. With a vertical supply chain in place, he is focused on making inroads into new markets. IPG's lasers, which cost anywhere from a few dollars to a few million dollars, are now used to remove facial wrinkles, destroy munitions stockpiles in Iraq, and cut metal used in industrial projects. Gapontsev, 67, is enjoying the ride. Now that IPG is back on track, he has no plans to hand over the reins anytime soon. An IPO is still a possibility, he says, as long as he remains at the helm. "I didn't build this company to sell it and play golf," he says. "I built it to sustain it."Close
IPG fiber lasers are preferred for their uniquely extensive suite of compelling advantages over legacy laser technologies. The elegant simplicity of fiber lasers provides exceptionally compact, highly versatile and user friendly functionality whose efficiency, beam quality and cost of ownership is unrivaled.
IPG fiber lasers are preferred for their uniquely extensive suite of compelling advantages over legacy laser technologies.
As a long-time OEM supplier, IPG is intimately familiar with the understandably unforgiving standards expected of component and subsystem vendors. We know our customers depend on our lasers and amplifiers to operate without failure in mission-critical and safety-critical applications. Our confidence that our lasers and amplifiers will meet these expectations is based on the empirical comfort that comes with the most rigorous testing and quality control standards. Our key components are tested or burned-in for hundreds of hours, and in the end, we only use the best components that have passed our stringent control standards. IPG Photonics is certified ISO 9001:2008, giving our customers the assurance that our business processes are both well-documented and conform to the same standards of quality upheld by most of the world’s largest and most highly-regarded companies. Beyond the words stands our bottom-line commitment to quality: the best warranty in the industry.
IPG fiber lasers can operate at overall electrical-to-optical conversion efficiency exceeding 50%, more than a factor of 10 greater than legacy solid-state and gas laser technologies.
IPG’s best-in-class beam quality and power enable fiber lasers increase processing speeds and reduce waste, while opening up entire new application spaces.
The choice of wavelengths from 355 nm to 2 µm, availability of both continuous wave, QCW and pulsed lasers and exceptional beam quality enable fiber lasers to process a vast variety of materials.
The minimal cooling requirements, the lowest footprint and exceptional efficiency of fiber lasers set the industry standard for low cost of ownership often saving thousands of dollars per laser per annum.
Fiber lasers are an ideal OEM solution due to their plug-and-play nature, compact size and simple user interface.
A single fiber laser can service numerous processes though a simple change of its delivery head, while an IPG beam switch allows a single laser to service multiple process stations simultaneously.
IPG offers a vast array of fiber laser solutions spanning power levels from 10’s to 1000’s of Watts, single and multi-mode beam delivery, wavelengths from 355 nm – 2 µm, water- and air-cooled – all of which provide exceptional beam quality.
IPG’s components are mass manufactured under stringent quality control, while our fiber lasers have highly redundant designs which are immune to individual component failure.
By replacing gas-filled chambers with fibers the width of a human hair, and leveraging exceptionally efficient diode energy sources which require little cooling, fiber lasers are typically less than half the size of legacy lasers of similar power.
Oxford, MA, September 1, 2009 -- IPG Photonics Corporation, the world leader in high power fiber lasers and amplifiers, today announced that it is offering new retrofit services dedicated to helping customers replace older production lasers with energy-efficient fiber lasers from IPG. An experienced team, including engineers familiar with system integration, including beam delivery, application development, controllers, robots, software and safety, will provide the new service from IPG’s Operations in the United States, Germany, China, and Japan.
“We have had many companies approach us about replacing their CO2 and YAG laser sources on existing production lines so they can enjoy the tremendous benefits that fiber lasers provide,” commented Bill Shiner, Vice President-Industrial Markets. “This new service allows those companies to utilize their existing motion system or transfer line while obtaining the most reliable and cost-effective laser technology with minimal risk and down time.”
By replacing older, inefficient lasers for applications such as cutting, welding or cladding with fiber lasers, manufacturers can utilize their existing motion system while gaining significant operating cost savings. Fiber lasers consume substantially less electric compared to conventional lasers. It is estimated that fiber lasers are 15-30 times more electrically efficient than lamp-pumped YAG lasers and 3 times more electrically efficient than CO2 lasers.
IPG now has an Energy Savings Calculator on its website that calculates potential electrical energy savings from using a fiber laser. Customers that switch to fiber lasers also benefit from lower maintenance, no diodes to replace and lower down time.
Several customers have received rebate money from their utility or state government by switching from old laser technology to efficient fiber lasers. Retrofit customers may also take advantage of accelerated tax depreciation in 2009 under Section 179 of the I.R.C. provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.Close
Section 179 of the US tax code allows businesses to deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment and/or software purchased or financed during the tax year. That means that if you buy (or lease) a piece of qualifying equipment, you can deduct the FULL PURCHASE PRICE from your gross income. It's an incentive created by the U.S. Government to encourage businesses to buy equipment and invest in themselves. See the latest information on Capital purchases, bonus depreciation in Section 179.
Now is the time to purchase an IPG fiber laser, fiber laser system or retrofit your old laser source with a new energy-efficient fiber laser. The U.S. Government has sent some stimulus your way in the form of the Section 179 deduction; please consult Section 179 website for more details as available.
This is not tax advice. Consult your tax consultant for tax advice and the applicability to your business and circumstances. Any advice contained in this document was not intended to be used, and cannot be used, by you (or any other taxpayer) to avoid penalties under the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.Close
This fiber laser energy savings calculator has been developed to estimate electrical energy savings resulting from using a fiber laser in comparison with other laser types. The calculator shows the order of magnitude of potential savings over several years.
The wall-plug efficiency values used in this calculator are typical values for a given laser type and average operating conditions. The actual WPE values for specific laser models will vary according to various factors such as pattern of laser usage and environmental conditions. As of 2015, YLS-ECO fiber laser has reached 48% WPE under typical operating conditions. The industry leading WPE of other IPG lasers also continues to improve.
This calculator does not account for many other cost savings and performance advantages of fiber lasers, which would add to the estimated electrical energy savings. Other cost savings from using fiber lasers include:
Disclaimer:In preparation of this calculator, effort has been made to offer current, correct and clearly expressed information. The information provided has been gathered through in house research, and third party sources. This data is meant to be a guideline, not a guarantee. Working and use conditions may differ from the projected estimates.
The IPG story is about independence, creating advanced technology, having a unique business model, and rampant success.
IPG was founded in 1991 in Russia by physicist Valentin P. Gapontsev, Ph.D., a pioneer in the field of fiber lasers and recipient of various awards. In the beginning, IPG made and sold customized glass and crystal lasers, wireless temperature meters for hyperthermy and laser components. In 1992, the company began focusing on the development of high-power fiber lasers and amplifiers.
The firm received its first major contract from telecommunications carrier Italtel. IPG then won a second major contract fromDaimlerBenz Aerospace. The company opened a facility in Germany in 1994 and established World Headquarters in the USA in 1998.
In 2000, IPG invested in new high-capacity production facilities in USA to manufacture its own diode pumps, a major component of its fiber lasers and amplifiers. IPG is highly vertically integrated, producing all critical components for its lasers and amplifiers.
The company went public in 2006 and is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the ticker IPGP.
My dream is to see lasers—like computers—become a tool of choice in mass production, rather than being viewed as a last resort in many applications. I intend for IPG Photonics to play a pivotal role in realizing this dream, and being sure to maintain our independence along the way.
"1999 Engineering Excellence Award", Optical Society of America.
"Fiber lasers grow in power", Laser Focus World, V. Gapontsev and W. Krupke, (August 2002).
"New High-Power Fiber Laser Enables Cutting-Edge Research", Laser Photonics, Brian C. Gahan and Bill Shiner, (2004).
"Russian laser chap lights up US", The Register, Bill Robinson, (31 Mar 2006).
"Tenacity brought success to IPG Photonics", Telegram & Gazette, Esposito, Andi, (23 February 2007).
"Independent Thinker: Valentin Gapontsev", SPIE Professional, Valentin P. Gapontsev, (July 2007).
"Valentin Gapontsev Receives Entrepreneur Award", Photonics.com.
"Laser Luminaries", SPIE.
"2009 LIA's Arthur L. Schawlow award", Industrial Laser Solutions.
"2010 Russian Federation National Award in Science and Technology", Russian Presidential Executive Office.
"Laser-like dedication at IPG Photonics", The Boston Globe, Hiawatha Bray, (May 22, 2011).
"High-power fibre lasers", Nature Photonics, C. Jauregui, J. Limpert and A. Tünnermann, (Oct 2013).Close
2017 was an outstanding year for IPG. Having achieved $1 billion in annual revenue for the first time in 2016, we grew revenue by more than $400 million in 2017 to $1.4 billion. The list of billion-dollar high tech companies that grow annual sales by 40% is very short. And we are pleased to have delivered even stronger growth in backlog, operating earnings and free cash flow. We sold nearly 80% more optical power in 2017 increasing production faster than revenue growth and fulfilling orders with no meaningful change in lead time. This achievement reflects excellent planning and manufacturing execution, for which I thank all of IPG’s employees.
We are very pleased to have delivered our strongest annual growth in six years, a direct result of our scale advantages and our unique business model combining a vertically integrated manufacturing operation with broad-based technology and process abilities. This business model enables us to rapidly increase production, reduce costs and deliver innovation. Looking ahead, we see excellent opportunities to leverage these advantages within both our core markets and new applications, making our fiber laser technology the tool of choice in mass production.