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2016 Was a Good Year for Lasers; 2017 Looks Even Better

Strong 2016 earnings among top industrial laser providers, continued brisk adoption of fiber lasers, cheaper ultrafast lasers, and a host of novel applications and notable corporate acquisitions signal a big year ahead for photonics-based manufacturing.

Buck Rogers Blasts into the Toolroom

In addition to carbide, ceramics, and cermet, the drive to create the hardest possible cutting tool materials has given us the alphabet soup of PCD, PCBN, CVD-D, and MCD (polycrystalline diamond, polycrystalline cubic boron nitride, chemical vapor deposition diamond, and mono-crystalline diamond, respectively).

Jenoptik Opens New Automotive Technical Center

Metrology developer Jenoptik AG (Jena, Germany) on Thursday officially opened its new North American technology campus here that will focus on the industrial metrology and laser processing systems used primarily by its automotive OEM and Tier customers.

Laser Welding for Sheetmetal Fabricators

Although laser welding is a well-established manufacturing solution, many sheetmetal fabricators have been hesitant to implement the process at their shop.

Japanese, German Innovators Broaden Work That Stars ‘Digital Companion’

In preparation for mass customization, for starters, Japanese and German tech research officials today committed to expanding their joint work to establish a “social-technical or maybe ‘cyber-social’ environment where ‘digital companions’ and production lines communicate with humans” working in manufacturing, Andreas Dengel said in an interview with Smart Manufacturing magazine here at the CeBIT (Centrum der Büroautomation und Informationstechnologie und Telekommunikation) fair.

3D Laser Gaging Ensures Flawless Engine Fasteners

In an automobile engine, seven types of screws out of approximately 70 are considered critical to achieving the engine’s specified design performance, despite high vibration and heat. The seven include bolts for the cylinder head, crankshaft, con rod, flywheel, and main bearing cap, as well as for the camshaft cap, camshaft sprocket and VCT.

Laser Takes Heat Out of Tough Tool Grinding

Cutting tool maker Shape-Master Tool Co. (Kirkland, IL) needed to expand its tool grinding capability beyond that of its conventional machines or run the risk of losing work to the competition.

Fiber Lasers Capture Market Share, Applications

You don’t have to look too far to find the reasons for the growth of fiber lasers for production applications. On price per watt, beam quality, electrical consumption, and maintainability required, fiber lasers typically score the lowest on the cost side and very high on the performance side.

3D-Printed Parts Restore Cars’ Glory

Daimler may be the first vehicle maker to offer 3D-printed replacement parts, but racing enthusiasts and car collectors like Jay Leno have been using additive manufacturing and 3D scanning for many years to replace worn-out parts or to enhance their rides.