Novelty Rapid.Tech 3D 2024

Zwobbel and ZwobbelDBS for dynamic beam shaping in laser material processing

Technological innovations are constantly emerging in Thuringia. Zwobbel and ZwobbelDBS are such innovations - developed by the company ROBUST AO in Jena. In the interview, Dr.-Ing. Claudia Reinlein and Stefan Ulrich (application developer) talk about the possible applications.

Dr. Reinlein, why is the company called ROBUST AO?

Reinlein: Our company name is made up of two parts – AO – stands for Adaptive Optics. This is a technology from astronomy that makes it possible to see stars clearly, even through the atmosphere. We use this technology for industrial laser material processing. Since industrial systems typically work around the clock and therefore have to be particularly reliable and robust, we named our company ROBUST AO because the reliability and robustness of our AO systems are particularly important to us.

In which industrial processes are your systems already used?

Reinlein: So far, our systems have been used primarily for cutting metals, i.e. thick sheets, using lasers. There are also initial tests for laser welding. In all of these processes, we enable dynamic adjustment (beam shaping) of the laser beam. In the future, we would also like to use this technology for powder-based laser beam melting (PBF-LB).

How is dynamic beam shaping used in laser beam welding?

Reinlein: In laser beam welding, for example, the laser beam is moved over the workpiece to widen the weld seam, which helps to improve gap bridging between two sheets. This technique is now standard and helps to reduce defects and weld spatter in the process.

What added value can your technology offer for powder-based laser melting?

Ulrich: In powder-based laser beam melting, a compromise must be found between productivity (high powder layer thickness) and surface quality. Our beam shaping technology has the potential to combine these goals. Dynamic beam shaping technology is already being investigated in research and initial industrial applications. Our solution enables rapid switching between high resolution and high productivity and could optimize the connection between the layers.

Can you tell us more about the technical implementation of dynamic beam shaping in the PBF-LB process?

Ulrich: Sure! Most PBF-LB machines use a fiber laser as a source, a collimator, a galvo scanner and a focusing lens to cover large areas. Our product, the ZwobbelDBS, is placed between the collimator and the galvo scanner, as shown in the schematic:

3D-Druck.png (0.3 MB)

Schematic representation of the integration of the ZwobbelDBS into LBF-LB systems.

What technical features characterize the ZwobbelDBS?

Ulrich: The Zwobbel DBS offers 3D scanning functions in particularly compact dimensions. The system enables high focusing speeds and extreme kHz wobble frequencies of up to 2kHz that can be freely adjusted. The full focus stroke can be achieved in less than 2 milliseconds, regardless of the focal length. We believe that the Zwobbel DBS opens up new possibilities for increasing productivity and quality for machine builders and process developers in the PBF-LB area.

We will also be showing the system at our booth in Hall 2-224 and are already looking forward to discussions about the applications!