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New Non-contact Position Monitor by Ophir Photonics

Ophir Photonics, global leader in precision laser measurement equipment and a Newport Corporation brand, today announced BeamWatch(TM) at LME: Lasers for Manufacturing Event.

BeamWatch is a non-contact, focus spot size and position monitor for high power YAG and fiber lasers. It is the industry's first laser monitoring system to quickly and accurately measure laser parameters without requiring contact with the laser beam.

Conventional systems place a probe in the beam, causing potential damage and slowing the measurement process; it could take up to two minutes to gather data and characterize the beam. BeamWatch takes measurements every 60ms, measuring the Rayleigh scatter caused by the beam. This provides instant readings of focus spot size and beam position, as well as dynamic measurements of focal plane location during process start-up. BeamWatch is designed for material processing applications that need consistent, high quality laser performance, including laser cutting, ablating, sintering, drilling, and welding.

BeamWatch™. Video courtesy of Ophir Photonics.

"The image in BeamWatch is not the laser beam itself, it's the Rayleigh scatter created by the beam as it travels through the instrument," said Gary Wagner, General Manager, Ophir Photonics (U.S.). "It's like measuring the beam sideways without interfering with the beam. This provides quick and accurate readings of laser focal length. Laser focal length is a critical issue as it directly affects the rate at which material can be melted and various thicknesses can be processed."


BeamWatch by Ophir-Spiricon.

BeamWatch monitors high power YAG, disc, fiber and diode lasers in the 980-1080nm range. The system takes measurements of the beam at frequent intervals without having to shut down the process or remove extensive tooling and fixtures. BeamWatch measures focal spot location at 60ms intervals to indicate whether focal spot shifts are occurring during critical start-up moments.

BeamWatch includes both Technician and Operator Mode interfaces. In Technician Mode, access is provided to the tools needed for start-up and advanced beam diagnostics, such as optimizing measurement parameters or establishing pass/fail criteria.

In Operator Mode, the run-time interface displays measurements at video rates. Graphic displays help operators quickly understand the status of the laser’s performance without having to interact with the laser or the monitoring system.

The system can be set up to compare initial process validation measurements and can be run in automated pass/fail mode. An Automation Server can be implemented using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA), C/C++, or an ActiveX application such as Microsoft(R) Excel, Microsoft Word, or National Instruments LabVIEW(R).

Availability & Pricing

BeamWatch is available now. Pricing is available on request.

About Ophir Photonics

With over 30 years of experience, Ophir Photonics, a Newport Corporation brand, provides a complete line of instrumentation including power and energy meters, beam profilers, spectrum analyzers, and goniometric radiometers. Dedicated to continuous innovation in laser measurement, the company holds a number of patents, including the award-winning BeamTrack power/position/size meters and Spiricon's Ultracal(TM), the baseline correction algorithm that helped establish the ISO 11146-3 standard for beam measurement accuracy.

The Photon family of products includes NanoScan scanning-slit technology, which is capable of measuring beam size and position to sub-micron resolution. The company is ISO/IEC 17025:2005 accredited for calibration of laser measurement instruments. Their modular, customizable solutions serve manufacturing, medical, military, and research industries throughout the world.


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