As an engineer, it can be very frustrating to develop a product on paper, only to be prevented from realising it in its physical form by any number of reasons – lack of funds, no access to facilities or even insufficient expertise.
During the past 18 months or so, the subject of fibre lasers has been pretty much unavoidable. A walk down the aisles at any of the major exhibitions reveals yet more new launches from an ever-increasing number of manufacturers and suppliers adding fibre laser capabilities to their portfolio.
It comes as no great surprise, then, that fibre lasers are uppermost in the minds of industry experts when it comes to discussing growth areas within photonics.
Positioning equipment is getting complex. Users are now demanding faster, more precise and increasingly accurate kit, with a larger proportion of custom-made pieces being requested to be used within a broader range of applications, and on an increasingly smaller scale.
The 17th-century scientist Robert Hooke is probably best known for formulating his law of elasticity (Hooke’s Law), but his interests ranged from physics and astronomy, through to chemistry, biology, geology, naval technology, and architecture – he was instrumental in rebuilding London after the Great Fire in 1666. He is also widely thought of as ‘the father of microscopy’ for his studies of various biological structures and organisms through compound microscopes.
Lasers have become synonymous with car production. Robots and lasers have replaced the mass production lines of 30 years ago. But just because lasers are now widely adopted throughout car manufacturing, that does not mean that their role has become settled. Lasers are expanding into new areas of manufacturing within the auto industry. They are no longer restricted to sheet metal processing, but now handle many different types of metal, and other materials such as plastics as well.
When the Berlin Wall came down the world rightly rejoiced. But for those who lived in the former East Germany (DDR), the ensuing years proved a struggle as they tried to earn a living in the capitalist economy of the new Germany.