5 common laser power problems that laser operators face
Tuesday, June 23, 2020
Laser operators are critical members of an efficient laser business where large, powerful laser systems are running continuously. As a part of the business, there are also many kinds of laser system-related technical problems that may occur during operation, so diagnosing and fixing them as quickly as possible is vital.
Laser power problems, which are quite specific for a laser business, can be caused by some many different reasons, but for the purpose of this post, we’ll list five of them below and look at how we can overcome them.
Your laser system consists of many high-tech components, and most of them require efficient cooling to produce stable output power. In general, a water circulation system is used for keeping the temperature of the system constant.
Thus, problems related to circulation of water, filters or electrical supply can degrade the laser output power. Therefore, periodic check and control of the temperature gauge on the cooling system might save your time and money.
As laser systems, especially the high-power ones, require high amounts of voltage, problems related to power supply can produce inconsistent output power causing catastrophic damage.
If you don’t have a stable power supply, you will not have stable laser power. You can check if electrical instability causing any fluctuations using a laser power meter and monitoring tools by validating the output power stability of your laser.
Sometimes, in spite of the power supply and cooling system looking fine, after measuring the output power with laser power detector, you notice that the power level from the nozzle is less than what it should be.
This kind of problem might be due to damage to or heavy contamination of the external and internal components, such as the nozzle, lenses, and mirrors. Thus, keeping the components as clean as possible and regularly inspecting them is crucial for efficient laser processing.
Some of the laser technologies such as CO2 lasers require proper lens alignment. One of the signs of misalignment of these components is the drop in laser power. Operating a misaligned laser resonator for a long time can cause catastrophic failures. So, it is necessary to verify the lens alignment periodically.
Procedures such as cutting and welding require pulsed operation of laser due to the need for additional peak power. Most of the time laser operators believe that any performance loss in cutting and welding operations is due to average power drop until they use their laser power meter and see that power level is as it should be.
However, during such operations, instead of average power, pulse-to-pulse stability plays an important role in material processing. Thus, it is important to use appropriate laser energy meters to monitor the energy of individual pulses instead of average power.
Regardless of what problem a laser operator faces, it is important to correctly diagnose it as soon as possible to benefit financially. The validation of the laser power problems, fortunately, is a piece of cake owing to high accuracy laser power meters, which helps to find the root of the problem for working towards a solution.