Nuburu’s Industrial Blue Lasers: No Spatter, No Voids, Virtually No Defects
Its high power and brightness allow it to weld copper, aluminum, and dissimilar metals in a defect-free, spatter-free manner.
Based on its recent analysis of the North American high-power blue lasers market for copper welding, Frost & Sullivan recognizes NUBURU, Inc. with the 2019 North American Technology Innovation Award for being the first company to have developed a blue laser technology for welding copper and dissimilar alloys. It is a high-power laser comprising gallium nitride semiconductor laser diodes operating in the blue wavelength and coupled to an optical fiber. This technology is highly useful in applications ranging from automotive electric vehicles (EVs) to consumer electronics module manufacturing within smartphones, laptops, and desktops.
In 2018, NUBURU commercialized its blue laser technology in the form of the 150 Watt AO-150 and 500 Watt AO-500 products for industrial applications. Though conventional industrial lasers are powerful, reliable, and automated, they operate in the IR region with a wavelength of about 1 to 10 microns (µm), which is inadequate to efficiently weld copper. The blue laser technology operates at a wavelength of 450 nm, which makes it well suited for welding copper and other metal alloys with a material thickness of up to 700 microns (µm). The physics of blue light allows copper to absorb 13 times more light than possible with IR light, resulting in a quicker melt of the copper material and keyhole mode welds.
“The AO-500 Watt blue laser technology has a processing power equivalent to a 5 kilowatt IR laser, without reaching the vaporization stage or creating bubbles inside the weld. This results in a mechanically strong and spatter-free, defect-free weld,” said Ranjana Lakshmi Venkatesh Kumar, Industry Analyst. “By adopting high-power blue laser diodes, developing micro and macro optics solutions, and integrating these with an optical fiber to produce a laser beam similar to conventional industrial lasers, NUBURU presents a differentiated blue laser technology to the welding industry.”
NUBURU is especially focusing on increasing its laser’s power from 500 Watt to 1kW-4kW so it may be used to weld materials with a thickness of 2mm to 5mm. It is also investing resources in developing brighter lasers. The brighter the laser, the smaller the spot size, which generates a deeper, stronger, and thinner weld. NUBURU’s near-term aim is to provide a laser power source that is two times more powerful than other blue energy sources, enabling a 60 percent deeper penetration of the weld.
“Significantly, NUBURU is targeting the high-potential 3D printing metal market. As blue laser technology can provide 10 times faster build rate and results in high-resolution net shape parts, the solution is expected to experience high adoption in this large, demanding market,” noted Kumar. “NUBURU caters to a key future need in welding by ensuring improved productivity and resolution via blue light lasers. Frost & Sullivan recognizes its foresight of identifying a vital industry need and addressing it with its timely blue light laser technology.”
Physical Advantage of Industrial Blue Lasers
The blue laser welds copper faster and better than any alternative solution. This advantage springs from fundamental physics: copper absorbs blue light better than it absorbs infrared radiation or other colors of light. Aluminum, gold and other important industrial metals also absorb more blue than they do other wavelengths of light. That basic fundamental physical advantage leads to performance advantages for welding copper, welding aluminum, 3D printing, and other materials processing applications.
The Importance of Brightness
Fundamental physics provides the first necessary ingredient for the exceptional materials processing performance of industrial blue lasers, but it’s only the first step. The efficiency of all materials processing applications depends upon delivering energy to a target. Higher brightness means higher power density, which leads to faster materials processing. Brightness is not an inherent feature of any laser; it’s a feature that can only be achieved with the proper design choices. NUBURU’s chip-based blue laser design is unique in the industry — and it’s why NUBURU offers the highest-brightness blue lasers on the market.
Blue Laser Welding
Welding is about more than just melting adjacent metals. The factory floor demands the rapid reconfiguration and the flexible geometry possible with laser welding. Traditional infrared lasers — although powerful and flexible — just aren’t suited for welding reflective metals. Too much of their energy is wasted, ending up as voids and spatter, defects that can be fatal for both structural and electronic applications. The fundamental physics of the industrial blue laser, along with the high brightness of NUBURU’s chip-based design, lead to unprecedented quality. Perhaps even more importantly, this quality doesn’t come at the expense of speed. Blue laser welding is both faster and higher quality than infrared laser welding.
Industrial Blue Laser Additive Manufacturing
Laser cladding and laser metal deposition (LMD) are two applications where raw material is heated to its melting point and adhered to a surface. Material absorption, laser power, and high brightness are just as essential here as they are for other materials processing applications. The blue laser advantages allow copper to be clad to stainless steel — or the other way around! The industrial blue laser can even clad copper on copper, something that can’t be done with infrared. The advantage extends to LMD, where the blue laser builds ten times faster than the IR for gold, copper, aluminum, and other reflective metals.
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