High Efficency Laser Processing Systems (HELPS)

Lead Research Organisation: Cranfield University
Department Name: Sch of Applied Sciences


Diode laser technology has the potential to provide significantly more efficient industrial laser sources for materials processing than are currently available. However poor beam quality has so far limited market penetration to a few relatively small niches such as soldering and plastics welding. This project aims to exploit a combination of key technologies held separately by the partner organisations and bring them together to develop fiber coupled diode laser sources with beam qualities good enough to be applicable to broad range of mainstream applications. Specifically this will include a significant increase in the efficiency of current laser based welding processes to the point where they are more efficient than even conventional MIG or other techniques.The main research activities will be 1) Demonstration of propotype energy effficient, high brightness, diode laser (DL) modules at power levels 200-1000W coupled into 0.15mm fibre;2) Development of these modules to prototype standard on a staged basis - allowing parallel work on higher power prototype DL modules; 3) Applications research on DL modules for welding, marking, and cutting. 4) Novel architectures for DL module combination to achieve power/brightness of 4kW into 0.25mm fibre5) Research on energy saving welding processes and applications trials


10 25 50
Description New methods of converting multiple diode lasers outputs into a high brightness high power systems were investigated. The solution selected uses multiple emmiters with refractive beam combining optics.
Exploitation Route Commercial laser systems The laser supplier in the project (J K Lasers) may use the output from the project to develop a future product line of direct diode lasers
Sectors Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

Description It was decided by the industrial partner not to pursue the development of this type of laser source
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
Description Input to national laser strategy document released February 2018
Geographic Reach National 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a national consultation
Impact The national strategy provides guidance to government and funding bodies and the importance and need for laser material processing. it also identifies issues and problem areas where future support is required.
Description EPSRC CIM in Laser Based Production Processes partner 
Organisation J K Lasers
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We are the lead partner for fusion based laser processes
Collaborator Contribution They have provided two new research laser systems specifically designed for our research requirements and are supporting two projects in the CIM
Impact None yet as it has just started
Start Year 2014
Description Laser material processing using fibre lasers 
Organisation SPI Lasers UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We carry out research into laser material processing using lasers supplied by SPI
Collaborator Contribution They have donated 1 3KW laser and 3 500 W lasers to the Centre to enable us to do this work. They have now provided further lasers and have supported our successful programme grant application NEWAM
Impact Software that can be used commercially based on the power factor concept has been offered to SPI.
Start Year 2014