Page 31 - European Energy Innovation - Spring 2015 publication
P. 31
Spring 2015 European Energy Innovation 31


The BRIDLE project

Direct diode laser systems as energy-efficient, reliable and flexible manufacturing tools in laser material

By Thomas Brand, Coordinator of the BRIDLE project, Dilas Diodenlaser GmbH, Germany

The BRIDLE project In the last years these tools have A lot of work is being done at the
is funded by the EU been increasingly replaced moment to shift these limits for
within the FP7 program (slowly but steadily) by diode- direct diode lasers to a higher
since 2012. It seeks to pumped lasers and more recently brightness, while retaining the
develop the basic technologies by fiber lasers. Today, fiber lasers benefits of the diode lasers’
to establish high power diode in the multi-kilowatt power range inherent high electro-optical
laser systems as one of the most for material processing reach 40% efficiency. Finding the best
efficient laser tools in high- WPE. useful commercial system level
brightness applications. solution is the ultimate goal,
Direct diode lasers, scaled to with available fiber laser systems
In many industrial branches, as the kilowatt region, have been as the benchmark in terms of
environmental costs increase, used in the past mostly for low complexity, efficiency and at the
the demand for more energy brightness applications like end “cost per laser power and
efficient, flexible and reliable heat treatment, soldering and beam quality”.
tools grows, and this is also welding. Such systems have the
the case for laser material ability to reach a WPE of more The BRIDLE project within FP7,
processing. Power consumption than 60%, as long as there is as one part of these research
and disposal of waste heat to no need for best beam quality activities, combines several
the ambience attracted more as provided by CO2 or fiber novel approaches, tested and
attention in production during the lasers. Fiber coupled diode laser compared in parallel, beginning
last years because of the more systems as pump sources for with a newly developed chip
stringent legal restrictions and an fiber lasers thereby help to keep design, fundamental research
increasing public awareness. their high efficiency. in coherent coupling, and
methods of dense wavelength
Nowadays, laser material Since each high power diode multiplexing to scale overall
processing is a multi-billion laser system is composed of output power. As one outcome,
euro market, continuously a multitude of single emitters, an industrial type, high
growing. A large part includes combined and shaped to one brightness direct diode laser
metal treatment like cutting and single beam by means of complex in the kilowatt range will be
welding, with the automotive micro-optical arrangements, presented this year.
industry as a primary driver. Here, it’s obvious that more of this is More results can be seen on
for a long time, the CO2 lasers needed to scale it up to a higher l
were the dominant work-horses brightness. Inevitably, this also
in the multi-kW power range increases the costs and reduces Contact details:
because of their robustness the systems’ overall efficiency. DILAS Diodenlaser GmbH
and relatively easy to handle Thus, a natural limit must exist Dr. Thomas Brand
wavelength at 10µm, despite a for the deployment of more and Senior Manager R&D - Government Projects
low wall plug efficiency (WPE) of more complex direct laser diode Galileo-Galilei-Strasse 10, 55129 Mainz, Germany
only 15-20%. Lamp pumped solid- systems, and it would make more Tel: +49 6131-9226-147
state lasers with the advantage of sense to use lower brightness Fax: +49 6131-9226-255
possible fiber delivery of the laser pumps and an active resonator Email:
power to the work-piece, are even (e.g. from a fiber laser) as a Web:
less efficient around 3-4%. “brightness converter” .
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