Nowadays laser-based machining typically makes use of a circular beam with a Gaussian intensity distribution, as this is the standard form of the beam emitted by high-power laser sources which limits manufacturing speed and resolution. In many cases, however, the ability to statically or dynamically tune the geometry, the intensity distribution and/or the polarization of the beam could provide great benefits for increasing the machine’s productivity and/or the quality of the resulting product. This could particularly benefit AM service providers and machine builders.
The goal of this proposal is to speed up the laser-based machining process or improve the quality/precision of the resulting parts by shaping different aspects of the beam (shape, intensity distribution, polarization). Beam shaping would enable to tailor the beam to the particular needs of the envisaged production process. This would lead to
- The quality of the produced parts can be improved by designing a beam with a resolution, shape and polarization direction tailored to the product requirements.
- The production speed can be improved by enabling the delivery of a larger diameter beam with uniform intensity distribution.
- Or a combination of both.
BEAMSHAPE is an ICON-project (Interdisciplinair Coöperatief Onderzoek – Interdisciplinary Cooperative Research). Companies joining the consortium are invited to bring in different case studies requiring laser-based technologies.