Scan head control system

GSI Group has released a scan head control system and software for the JK FL range of industrial fibre lasers. The system contains all that is needed to use the fibre laser output in high speed processing applications, including scan head with recollimation unit, scan control unit with a compact brick PC and drive electronics, and the Scan Head User Interface (SHUI), which is integrated into the powerful FiberView software, enabling programming of all scan head functions and laser parameters through a single operator screen. Together these enable greater system control and flexibility, as well as reduced production times for repeatable high speed, high precision, seam and spot welding.

The Scan Head System has been designed to enhance and complement the current JK FL series of fibre lasers, enabling the beam to be deflected precisely and quickly with a range of spot sizes and working areas. These are determined by selection of the recollimation lens and f-theta objective scan lens from options carefully matched to the fibre laser and scan head models providing focused beam diameters from 15μm to 300μm and usable working areas from 60 x 60mm to 300 x 300mm. With the option to fit a CS-mount camera, the selected portion of the scan area can be viewed, also via the FiberView software, allowing easy set up of new processing applications using the features of the SHUI software.

The SHUI was developed by GSI to eradicate the need for separate programmes for the laser and scan head and has been specifically designed for laser processing applications, rather than the more traditional marking applications, for which scan heads are predominantly used. The Scan Head System can be used for cutting thin foils, for high speed spot welding and for seam welding using both overlapping spots from the fibre laser in modulated mode or true continuous welds when the laser is operating in CW mode.

Part information can be imported in DXF, Excel or CSV format for ease of integration with CAD/CAM systems. The shape of the weld can be programmed in a variety of geometrical shapes and figures such as spot, open circle or rectangle, lines, arcs and grids, giving laser welding further structural advantage over conventional spot and MIG welding.

The SHUI control system works with a pre-emptive and self optimising method, which effectively produces two program lists from a single user-generated graphical scan head profile. One program list executes in the scan head control hardware, the second, in the laser control hardware. The two lists execute independently, but are synchronised by the laser trigger pulse generated by the scan head list, and allow optimised switching speeds between different parameter sets used within a single process.

The scan head profile is perfectly optimised to achieve maximum possible process speed without going too fast and missing laser pulses, while at the same time, as the SHUI is also a pre-emptive system, the laser knows what parameters will be required before the trigger pulse arrives, further improving the process speed.