GSI Group is pleased to announce its new scan head control system and software for the JKFL range of industrial Fiber Lasers.

The system contains all that is needed to use the Fiber 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 industry leading FiberViewTM software, enabling seamless programmability 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 JKFL 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 Fiber Laser and scan head models providing focussed beam diameters from 15µm to 300µm and usable working areas from 60mmx60mm to 300mmx300mm. 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 fiber 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 unique pre-emptive and self optimising method (with patent pending ) 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, whilst 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.

Increased productivity

Generally faster welding times are obtained using a scan head. In most welding applications the average welding time is short compared to the positioning and loading time of the system; typically 20% to 50% of the cycle time of the process. Reducing the non-productive times with a scanning head decreases welding time by up to more than 90%.

In particular the JKFL Scan Head system minimises the set-up and process time due to its integrated features. These include a shortest route algorithm that determines the quickest possible scan sequence and the scan head tracking feature, for use with viewing or a visible diode alignment beam. This feature allows real time matching of processing locations to work piece features by dragging objects around the screen, whilst the scan head mirrors move, allowing the entire product process to be quickly set up through the scan head user interface and giving easy compensation for tooling differences all from a single control workstation.