High demand for laser processes for brittle materials
Glass and other brittle, transparent materials offer unique properties, that will fuel a continuously growing use in consumer electronics, medical devices, integrated circuits, architectural, automotive, aerospace and a variety of other interesting market segments. Driven by the constant need to reduce the number of processing steps, the amount of waste material and the use of water in production, the market is strongly pushing laser manufacturers and laser system integrators to offer alternatives to conventional mechanical technologies. Especially micro processing tasks, like cutting and drilling, are in need of more precise and less water-consuming technologies.
ROFIN SmartCleave™ FI shows outstanding cutting results
Beside the fusion cutting technology using pulsed fiber lasers especially for sapphire and ceramics, ROFIN’s SmartCleaveTM FI laser filamentation process has created a huge interest in the market, as the combination of achievable processing speed, edge quality (roughness, straightness, surface damage), material thickness range and material universality is just outstanding. Since the first presentation of this technology at the Glasstec2014, many industrial mass, but also several niche market applications have been realized successfully.
The ROFIN SmartCleaveTM FI filamentation process allows for cutting arbitrary shapes without taper into transparent and brittle materials of 0.05 to 12 mm thickness. The resulting surface finish is basically free of chipping. Typical surface roughness values less than one micron lead to high bending strengths of the cut parts. At sufficient internal stress levels, like present in chemically or thermally strengthened glass, the filamentation zone is separating automatically. Non-strengthened glass (e.g., but not limited to, soda lime, borosilicate and alumino-silicate), sapphire or ceramics can easily be separated by low mechanical or thermal force, for example, provided by a CO2-laser heating process.