Glass processing, a real challenge!

LASYS 2014: Cutting glass with a laser avoids the need for rework - Use of USP lasers very much in vogue - Fast cutting speeds coupled with high quality  (Visit http://www.messe-stuttgart.de/ for further information)Glass, a fascinating material with its own peculiarities: "It is brittle and tends to crack during uneven heating on account of the tensions or temperature gradients which then occur," explained Thomas Wahl, Senior Developer for Lasers and Optics at Manz AG.

"Glass and metals also differ considerably in their interaction with the laser beam due to absorption and thermal conduction," said Christof Siebert, Head of Industry Management for Micro Processing at Trumpf Laser- und Systemtechnik. Glass is transparent for visible light and has low thermal conductivity. It's exactly the opposite with metals. "The characteristic properties of glass," also concluded Dr. Boris Ruffing, Director European OEM/Industrial Sales at Newport Spectra-Physics, "represent a bigger challenge for laser systems and processes to achieve fast production speeds coupled with high quality."  According to Ruffing, glass is not just glass. "There is a wide spectrum of parameters such as the composition of the material, the thickness, coatings and hardening methods which play a role here and pose additional challenges," added the expert.

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