Blue Laser Additive Manufacturing-Aerospace Manufacturing and Design

2021-11-26 10:35:24 By : Ms. Joy Zhao

Blue manufactures parts faster, its low spatter results in high-density parts, and it uses different metals to produce parts.

The 2018 U.S. Defense Priority Strategy Summary highlights the elements of defense planning that must adapt to changing global realities. One of the key aspects is the shift from a large-scale centralized infrastructure to a "smaller, decentralized, flexible, and adaptable foundation" with the ability to "deploy, survive, operate, maneuver and regenerate". Maintaining the military readiness under these distributed operational conditions is a logistical challenge, especially the task of supplying spare parts for diversified forces. A similar mission appeared in commercial aviation.

Additive manufacturing (AM) meets this challenge by providing flexibility: the edge supply chain™. Additive manufacturing, which can produce a large number of spare parts, will replace the logistical challenge of maintaining a large inventory of unique parts, and ensuring an adequate supply of raw materials is a relatively simple task. So far, the role of AM is too limited to be effective, but high-power blue industrial lasers are pushing AM to fulfill its promise at the edge of the supply chain.

At the time of its introduction, AM was valued mainly for its ability to produce plastic parts to check shape, fit, and function. With the rapid maturity of various technologies, the technology has demonstrated the ability to manufacture metal parts, and the laser-based method is highly regarded for its simplicity and accuracy in providing energy to the target material. Unfortunately, traditional industrial lasers are difficult to absorb by industrially important metals. For 3D printing, this means limited speed, low production volume, low part density and high part cost-the blue laser solves all these problems.

Copper, aluminum, stainless steel, nickel, titanium, and other metals absorb blue light better than other wavelengths, and the amplitude is not large: the ability of copper to absorb blue light is 13 times that of infrared (IR) wavelengths. The first high-power blue industrial laser was released in 2017, and it took advantage of this basic physical advantage to quickly emerge in material processing applications.

For example, the absorption advantage leads to the performance advantage of brazing. Blue soldering copper is 10 times faster than infrared. Poor IR absorption can also cause quality problems-material splashes and residual holes can reduce the mechanical and electrical integrity of the finished part. Blue is not only faster than IR, but it also eliminates these defects. Since other metals can also absorb blue light well, the blue laser solves the difficulty of connecting different metals with quality and speed.

The same characteristics that lead to blue welding performance also lead to improved performance in AM, which is basically the same melting process. Blue manufactures parts faster, its low spatter leads to high-density parts, and it uses different metals to produce parts-this is a problem with alternative manufacturing methods.

After the initial successful welding of thin copper foil stacks, blue laser welding has rapidly developed into applications such as connecting stainless steel battery casings, connecting hairpin windings in high-efficiency motors, and mass production of components necessary for cooling 5G smartphone electronic devices. This rapid development is the result of two parallel developments: continuous technological advancements by application engineers to improve process parameters and blue laser capabilities. The technology continues to improve (see sidebar), and its impact on AM is expected to follow the same rapid trajectory.

Independent laboratory tests have shown that medium-power blue lasers are faster in metal deposition than much higher-power infrared lasers. Tests also show how blue produces a denser structure of copper, steel, and other metals that is larger than previously produced by AM. Those early demonstrations all depended on the higher absorption of blue wavelengths.

Although laser-based AM methods differ in details, they all require the metal to be heated to the point of melting. As with welding, the key is to transfer energy from the beam to the metal. The higher the efficiency of completion, the faster the process and the higher the quality of the finished product. For example, copper reflects more than 90% of the incident infrared radiation, which is inefficient, and the reflected light can damage the optical components in the AM device. Early investigations of blue indicate that it is more productive than IR.

The latest developments in blue laser technology will further improve performance. If the equivalent blue and IR beams are transmitted through the same lens, the blue dot will be less than half of the IR size. This also means that the blue laser can produce a spot of the same size as the infrared laser at a distance 2.5 times closer to the lens. For AM, this means that the manufacturing volume is 10 times larger than IR.

Although the blue laser is still in its infancy, welding experience and early research have proved the scope of future development. The high-power blue laser can:

These all lead to low-cost, mass production of customized parts.

Blue laser additive manufacturing will simplify the logistics supporting deployed military and civil aviation fleets, while reducing costs, bringing maximum value and flexibility, and pushing the supply chain to the edge.

About the author: Jean-Michel Pelaprat is the co-founder and chief marketing and sales officer of Nuburu, and Mark Zediker is the co-founder and chairman of the board of directors of Nuburu. Contact them at

For decades, engineers have realized that copper, gold, stainless steel, and other key industrial metals absorb more blue light than any other visible or infrared (IR) wavelength. With the advent of blue semiconductor lasers, it has become reasonable to consider building high-power blue lasers. The design challenge is to combine the outputs of many diodes to achieve industry-relevant power levels. The transmission of energy from the laser to the target material depends on the power and power density. In order to successfully process materials, Nuburu has developed and implemented a variety of beam combination methods to maximize power and brightness-the concentration of laser energy.

However, if multiple beams are combined to form a laser beam, the concentration of energy will be limited. In order to keep the beam of focus and dispersion to a minimum, it needs to be generated from a precisely manufactured source. This beam is a single-mode laser, which is difficult to achieve with a high-power blue laser, but Nuburu successfully used the capabilities of previously developed high-brightness lasers.

This development is significant because 3D printers using single-mode lasers can take advantage of a more basic physical property of blue light: it can produce a laser spot smaller than any longer wavelength (such as green or infrared light). The same physical characteristics can also extend the working distance beyond other wavelengths, allowing additive manufacturing (AM) to produce small physical features, large parts, or a combination of the two.

Enabling technology provides meaningful characterization for radar, electronic warfare, and threat simulation systems.

The latest developments in test and measurement capabilities and related architectures allow oscilloscopes to be extended to the radio frequency (RF) domain and RF analysis.

The Keysight UXR oscilloscope can simultaneously sample up to 256 Giga-samples (GSa/s) on 4 channels, supporting a functional RF frequency range/bandwidth up to 110GHz. This feature, combined with the performance of a 10-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC), allows UXR to be used for RF measurements across the entire spectrum.

However, at such a high sampling rate, you must pay attention to memory usage, because most oscilloscopes have limited on-board memory. Segmented memory and digital down-conversion technology play an important role in memory efficiency by making meaningful measurements.

Segmented memory-real-time oscilloscopes use external trigger signals to perform repeated measurements to define events of interest. Trigger makes meaningful visual measurements, allowing users to view events of interest based on trigger criteria.

Although this visualization technique does not provide sufficient memory efficiency for radar pulse analysis, it is possible to use an external trigger for segmented capture. Segment capture allows users to define the length of the capture interval in terms of samples or seconds and number of segments. This enables users to capture short events of interest of similar length and use the on-board capture memory to obtain meaningful information that meets user standards.

Real-time digital down-conversion-The ultra-high sampling rate of modern real-time oscilloscopes is an advantage and disadvantage. On the one hand, the ultra-high sampling rate directly captures signals with extremely high carrier frequencies and wide modulation bandwidths. However, the unusually high sampling rate will also consume the onboard memory extremely fast, thereby reducing the capture time.

Digital down conversion (DDC) is a relatively common technique used in digitizers, and it has now been applied to modern digital oscilloscopes. In the field programmable gate array (FPGA) and application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) of the UXR oscilloscope, the user can selectively define the center frequency and bandwidth of the measurement, instead of directly sampling at the highest frequency 2.5x to meet the Nyquist frequency ( Or folding frequency) the component of the signal of interest. DDC allows the sampling rate to be reduced from tens to hundreds of GSa/s to hundreds to thousands of MSa/s, allowing users to capture longer signals of interest.

Combining segmented capture with DDC, users can capture pulsed RF signals within a few milliseconds (hoping to have enough information to determine the correct operation of the device) to capture pulses of tens to hundreds of seconds to show the operation of the system under test Condition.

Modern radar/electronic warfare (EW) signals are more diverse than past signals. Frequency agility, low probability of intercept (LPI), wider bandwidth, and interleaved pulse repetition interval (PRI) present measurement challenges because pulses must now be captured for a longer period of time to see the radar pattern of the technology under test Or Electronic Attack (EA) systems to ensure that they are functioning properly. For technical signals that last 30 seconds or more, coupled with wider bandwidth, the challenge of effectively capturing, analyzing, and reporting results becomes even more critical.

Using Keysight UXR0334A oscilloscope and 89600 PathWave vector signal analysis (VSA) software, we can intuitively see the efficiency improvement brought by segmented memory and digital down conversion. In the following example, we will use the following parameters to capture and analyze the pulsed radar signal of interest:

Measurement setup 1-Direct full sampling rate We run the oscilloscope at the full sampling rate of 128GSa/s and start the test under the control of the VSA software. This sampling rate satisfies the center frequency given by Nyquist as 20GHz (ie 20e9 *2 = 40 e9 Samples/second). At this sampling rate, we can use the onboard memory of 800MSa to capture 7 pulses of the signal or 6.25ms acquisition, as shown in Figure 1 (see page 24).

This capture length provides some insights for our sample signal; however, it is difficult to gain insight into the long-term pulse stability or correct operation under some or all of the entire scene. By reducing the sampling rate to 64GSa/s, 20GHz signals can still be captured, but the number of pulses is twice. However, 14 captured pulses are still not enough to verify the pulsed radar signal scenario.

Measurement setup 2: Introduce segmented capture-With the 64GSa/s user setting sampling rate, we can now try to improve the efficiency of the oscilloscope's memory by using the segmented UXR capture function. In this case, we choose a segment length of 1.2 µs because the pulse of interest is 1 µs long. Given that the known PRI is 1ms and the pulse width is 1µs, by capturing a segment length of 1.2µs and not saving samples during the off time of the pulsed RF signal, we can greatly improve storage efficiency.

The segment capture function allows capturing up to 6,722 segments/pulse, resulting in RF pulse capture> 6.7 seconds of target activity time. Compared to the initial 6.25 milliseconds, the capture length of 6.7 seconds has increased by more than 1,000 times, as shown in Figure 2 (see page 24).

Measurement setup 3: Segment capture digital down conversion-Finally, we can combine real-time DDC with segment capture to achieve pulse capture with the longest target activity time. There is no need for a sampling rate based on the center frequency of the signal, we only need to consider the required capture bandwidth, in this case, about 400MHz to capture the signal modulation on the carrier. This allows us to set a sampling rate of 800MSa/s on the UXR, capture more than 70,000 segments/pulses, and the total logic capture length exceeds 70 seconds (see Figure 3, page 26). Now, we can view the RF pulse during a typical scene.

A basic technique for jamming radar to prevent it from successfully tracking a target is called Range Gate Pull Off (RGPO). Consider a situation where an electronic attack (EA) system on an aircraft needs to interfere with a surface-to-air missile radar to prevent the missile from being launched or guided to the aircraft. In this example, we assume that the distance from the missile launch point to the aircraft is 10 kilometers. It is reasonable to assume that it takes about 20 seconds for the missile to reach this distance-this is an important time frame for capturing the pulse.

Using RGPO, the aircraft's EA system monitors the missile radar, and then uses the range gate in the radar tracking system by creating a false radar return signal. The interference signal received by the radar receiver is larger than the real radar RF pulse reflection, which may be 10dB to 20dB larger, and slowly moves away from the real reflection position (see Figure 4, page 26). This will cause the range gate in the radar receiver to be unable to track real reflections and be fooled to track false echo interference signals. Then the jamming pulse disappears, causing the radar to interrupt tracking.

There is a loop:

An example of a reasonable scenario includes a radar pulse with a width of 1 microsecond and a jammer that generates a false echo RF pulse with a width of 1 microsecond, which pulls approximately 10 microseconds from the real radar echo signal in a period of 10 seconds (See Figure 5, page 27). In order to improve the range resolution, the pulse has a 400MHz wide chirp. The carrier frequency is 30GHz and the PRI is 1msec.

In order to effectively evaluate the operation of jamming RGPO, the goal is to capture each radar reflection pulse and jamming pulse in multiple RGPO 10-second periods. Using full 128GSa/s sampling, with or without segment capture, is not enough to capture pulses in one RGPO period. In addition, the 5 microsecond trigger re-ready time complicates the use of fixed segments due to the loss of pulses during the re-ready dead time.

A better approach is to combine variable width segment capture with real-time digital down conversion, where the IF trigger senses when the signal appears, and only stores the samples in the segment when the signal appears. This eliminates the dead time between pulses and maximizes the use of memory. 800MSa/s in-phase and quadrature-phase (I and Q) data with 640MHz bandwidth can now be used to capture the modulation on the carrier, thereby expanding the oscilloscope memory.

The total scene time, including the potential missile flight time that can capture RF pulses, has increased significantly. The VSA software with BHQ radar pulse option can capture 83,000 pulses in the recording mode, which is equivalent to about 50 seconds of scene time, enough to analyze 20 seconds of missile flight time and multiple 10-second periods of RGPO participation, including pre-release of interaction. This capture and analysis is shown in Figure 6 (see pages 28-29) and includes verification of the RGPO process by displaying PRI in Trace D.

Modern real-time oscilloscopes (such as Keysight UXR) can achieve excellent performance through direct sampling of signals up to 110GHz. This raw performance, combined with segmented capture and digital down-conversion, can provide a deeper understanding of signals of interest and long-term trends.

About the author: Brad Frieden is a factory application engineer in the Aerospace and Defense Department of Keysight, focusing on the calibration and use of UXG signal generators in multi-port electronic warfare threat simulation systems. Philip Gresock, a solution planner in the Aerospace and Defense Division of Keysight, focuses on high-performance radar and electronic warfare signal analysis platforms and measurement technologies.

Boulevard Machine & Gear achieved growth by investing in Haimer heat shrink fitting technology.

The family-owned gear cutting workshop Boulevard Machine & Gear was established in 1954 to provide services for the Pioneer Valley, the center of the Massachusetts paper industry. Over the years, under the leadership of multiple family members, the company has transformed to serve mainly the aerospace and defense industries. In 2006, Susan Kasa acquired the company and transformed it into the multifunctional manufacturing plant it is today.

Although Susan's focus was on growing the company and improving efficiency, Boulevard Machine employees began to notice that they would encounter some problems when using traditional side locks and chuck handles to complete certain tasks. They immediately contacted Jim Roberts, a Lindco Springfield sales engineer, to see if he could guide them to a solution.

"Boulevard wants to use the tools to run more accurately and extend tool life," Roberts explained. "I immediately recommend that they take a look at Haimer's products."

After seeing some of the benefits with his own eyes, Boulevard Machine decided to take the risk of investing in Haimer's products with the help of Haimer's US regional sales department. O'Connor.

Based on its high clamping torque and 360° clamping around the tool, Hymer's shrink fit technology provides excellent clamping torque and allows excellent runout accuracy, balanced repeatability and consistent clamping. Boulevard Machine now has a wide range of CAT40 and HSK-63 tool holders, including strong and standard heat shrink tubing and extensions.

Since switching to heat shrink brackets, mechanics have noticed that they can also increase the feed rate and speed. They used 3/4" Haimer Ultra Short Power Shrink HSK-63 to cut 750ipm. Previously, they could only cut 300ipm on the same material.

“Using the Haimer ultra-short power shrink machine, our feed rate has more than doubled,” explained CNC programmer Kristian Kasa. "This is our preferred tool holder for roughing. It makes our protruding length shorter, which gives us higher stiffness than traditional side locks or milling chucks."

Boulevard Machine now performs as many 5-axis operations as they do with 3-axis or 4-axis operations, whether they are doing 3, 2 or 5-axis operations at the same time. The Haimer Power Mini heat shrink bracket and heat shrink extension facilitate easy access to all hard-to-reach areas.

"We have stacked the extension part into the Haimer base stand, the projection exceeds 10 inches, and the jitter is only 0.0002 inches," Christian said. "Without these tool holders, we would not be able to process a large number of workpieces in the workshop."

For Boulevard Machine, buying and investing in Haimer technology is an easy decision. When Susan acquired the company, she decided to reinvest 20% to 30% of its annual revenue in capital equipment to modernize it. The reason for this is to innovate for the current workforce and the next generation of mechanics joining the team.

"We work closely with our programmers and engineers to ensure that what we are implementing and using makes their work as simple and efficient as possible," Susan explained. "With Haimer technology and keeping pace with the times, our team no longer hesitates to offer or accept work, because of advanced technology, they are confident to complete any task."

Like Haimer, Boulevard Machine always focuses on employees and strives to produce high-quality products every time.

After successfully implementing Haimer and other technologies, Boulevard Machine quickly expanded their footprint and decided to move to a larger, state-of-the-art facility in Westfield, Massachusetts.

"This really increases productivity and motivates employees to work in this bright new building," Susan said. "We even received visits from people interested in Haimer technology. To be honest, a lot of our success comes from cooperation, especially between us, Lindco Springfield and Haimer."

Christian added: "I would recommend Hymer to anyone who might not be struggling. Just test it and see if you can push the machine further and increase productivity."

Boulevard Machine & Gear Haimer Lindco Springfield, USA

GA-ASI and GKN Aerospace expand their partnership; FAA certified drone transponders.

Northrop Grumman Corp.'s Firebird optional manned autonomous aircraft flew nearly 9,000 miles around the United States. The multi-sensor Firebird demonstrated its manned flight capability and then converted to autonomous surveillance operations in less than two hours (as shown in the figure) Shown). Firebird is a medium-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial system (UAS) that allows customers to install a new payload within one day and replace the payload within 30 minutes.

GKN Aerospace will manufacture an advanced composite V-tail for GA-ASI's MQ-9B SkyGuardian Remotely Operated Aircraft System (RPAS) at its plant in Cowes, UK. This agreement expands the 10-year strategic relationship between GKN Aerospace and GA-ASI. GA-ASI’s SkyGuardian is the foundation of the Royal Air Force (RAF) protector and has been selected by the Defence Forces of Belgium and Australia.

GKN Aerospace's full-speed production of V-tails will support global production of MQ-9B aircraft.

The uAvionix ping200X Mode S ADS-B OUT transponder for unmanned aerial systems (UAS) has obtained the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Technical Standards Directive (TSO) certification. The ping200X weighs 50g, can provide 200W of transmission power, and consumes an average of 1.5W of aircraft power.

ADS-B technology is the key to integrating UAS into mixed-use airspace. ping200X works with uAvionix's truFYX SBAS GPS to provide safe separation information for air traffic control (ATC), traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS), and detection and avoidance (DAA) systems.

Automated measurement technology solves the unique challenges of aircraft size and scale, and brings new levels of protection and efficiency.

A common thread runs through every corner of the aerospace industry-precision is the most important. From initial manufacturing to operation, there is no room for error in the process of creating and utilizing aerospace technology.

The goal of any aerospace manufacturing business is to improve workshop efficiency and safety while maintaining this higher level of quality and precision. Artificial intelligence (AI)-driven tools can help realize this vision, but reviewing, applying, and using automated solutions can be a challenging prospect.

Automated measurement technology and consistent end-to-end manufacturing are critical to success and prevention of costly accidents. Every tool must meet stringent standards for quality, repeatability, safety, and most important mission-critical results.

Fortunately, solutions are being innovated to meet these expectations.

Aircraft and other aerospace equipment are engineering marvels, and automation helps to efficiently produce these assets. However, where there are components that cannot fail, there are operations that cannot fail.

Aerospace automation needs to solve unique challenges related to aircraft size and scale; invest in complex, low-volume processes; and effectively use industry-specific materials and equipment.

However, once implemented, automation can bring measurable benefits to aerospace in terms of efficiency, safety, quality control, and brand promotion and protection.

Let us explore a key example.

Painting airplanes is usually carried out by skilled craftsmen, who must work efficiently without sacrificing quality. This means moving the aircraft up and down quickly and getting very close to it-but never a collision, because such errors can have extremely costly effects. Therefore, collision avoidance systems are necessary-but traditional options have limitations, such as rough 3D visualization that restricts platform movement and downtime, so that the system can be updated when new aircraft models are put into production.

Although the collision avoidance system may avoid some catastrophic errors, it also caused serious time waste and efficiency loss during use.

Collision avoidance solutions in other use cases also have limitations.

When professionals teach robots a path in guided production mode, they may not realize that they are about to make a small mistake that causes the machine to hit the part. When an automation solution is installed for the first time, it may be difficult to realize that they will eventually collide with each other based on that installation-until it is too late.

An accident is about to happen. The aerospace manufacturing business needs to ensure that funds are not wasted.

OnGuard collision avoidance is a better way to protect critical assets and ensure errors. Although inevitable, it is not expensive.

As a collision avoidance software, it allows to operate the machine without worrying about collisions between the machine and its working assets or other machines, because the solution uses a variety of existing and proven technologies to build efficient and reliable automatic collisions-avoidance system.

OnGuard combines a software called Proximity Query Package developed by the University of North Carolina with an open graphics library and customer design software to build an accurate visual representation of the situation at any given moment and participate in complex decisions to avoid conflicts.

For aircraft painting, the solution enables an organization to reduce the time required to adapt to a new aircraft design by 50% and view the aircraft in real time on a computer screen. It also allows painters to move their platforms more freely.

In all applications, OnGuard uses real-time monitoring of the machine position and uses this information to issue an immediate stop command in the event of a collision.

The simulation mode also allows operators to accurately simulate work that occurs in a real manufacturing environment, cut them off before potential collisions occur, and solve challenges before the machine runs.

With innovative design and powerful use of robot vision, artificial intelligence, simulation capabilities, 3D modeling, and advanced warning and control, the OnGuard collision avoidance system prevents aerospace manufacturers from making the most costly mistakes.

About the author: Moriah Biederman is an automation software engineer at Concept Systems, which is a certified member of the Control System Integrator Association (CSIA). You can contact her at

The durable and lightweight QC-7 robotic tool changer provides various configuration options through ATI's pass-through utility module and tool rack system. The optional ML12 electrical module can be easily connected to the tool changer, which also includes five straight air ports and lock/unlock air accessories.

The tool changer has a low stack height and can be directly mounted on the wrist of an ISO 9409-1-31.5-4-M5 robot.

Integrate with the lock/unlock sensor that does not require an additional interface, the system's non-contact locking technology and fail-safe locking mechanism are securely connected between the host and the tool. The device can handle payloads up to 35 pounds (16 kg) and is compatible with a range of industrial and collaborative robot models.

ION/CME N series digital drives provide high-performance motion control, network connection and amplification. The compact, PCB-mountable motion controller uses a patented, ultra-rugged PCB-mountable package with three power output levels: 75W, 300W, and 1,000W.

Each driver supports brushless DC, brushed DC and stepper motors. ION/CME N series digital drives provide contour generation, servo compensation, stall detection, field oriented control (FOC), electronic cams and many other motion control functions. They also include support for Ethernet, CAN, serial, and SPI communications.