Copper 3D Printing: Single-Mode Green Laser Launches (2000W Near)

Copper 3D Printing

Since its inception in the mid-20th century, laser technology has become one of the cornerstones of modern science and technology, boasting a rich and profound development history, the year 1960 marked the beginning of a new era with the advent of the first laser. Theodore Maiman generated coherent light using a ruby crystal, creating a new light source with unprecedented monochromaticity, coherence, and directionality. This breakthrough opened up new frontiers for scientific research and technological applications.

Entering the 21st century, laser technology has made significant strides with advancements in semiconductor pumping technology, fiber laser technology, and ultrafast laser technology. Semiconductor pumping technology has enhanced the electro-optical conversion efficiency of lasers and reduced manufacturing costs.

Fiber lasers, known for their high power, stability, and compact design, have become the preferred choice for industrial processing. Ultrafast lasers, characterized by their extremely short pulses, show immense potential in micro-nano processing and biomedical fields.

Laser technology is advancing towards higher power, greater precision, and broader applications.

With the rapid development of fiber laser technology, the output power, beam quality, and electro-optical efficiency of lasers have been continuously improving, laying a solid technical foundation for the development of high-power green lasers. The advancement of nonlinear optical frequency doubling technology has made it possible to convert infrared fiber lasers into green lasers, thereby increasing the output power of green lasers.

In the field of industrial processing, high-power laser equipment plays a crucial role in cutting, welding, marking, and measuring within the aerospace, automotive, and shipbuilding industries. In medical applications, the precision and controllability of lasers have led to their widespread use in ophthalmic surgeries, skin treatments, and other medical procedures.

Laser technology has permeated every aspect of daily life, from industrial manufacturing to artistic creation, and scientific research. As technology advances, the development of high-power lasers significantly enhances the capabilities of laser applications in industrial processing.

The Development and Advantages of High-Power, Short-Wavelength Lasers

The development of high-power green lasers has garnered significant attention. Continuous fiber lasers, due to their continuous operation mode and waveguide structure, offer several advantages such as uniform laser energy output, high gain, high conversion efficiency, the ability to achieve ultra-high power output, good beam quality, easy single-mode output, and stable performance.

The interaction between lasers and materials is complex and varied. Different laser parameters (such as wavelength, power, pulse width, etc.) and material properties result in different interaction effects. These interactions have wide-ranging applications in laser technology, including material processing, medical treatment, and scientific research.

Copper is one of the most widely used metals globally. As shown in Figure 1, at room temperature, copper has an absorption rate of less than 5% for lasers in the 1064nm wavelength range, but it can absorb up to 40% of green light at 532nm. This absorption rate is about eight times higher than that of near-infrared lasers. Copper is extensively used in industries such as lithium batteries and microelectronics.

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Currently, the industrial sector predominantly uses 1064nm near-infrared lasers. However, due to the low absorption rate of copper at this wavelength, processing can lead to issues such as low efficiency, bubbles, and splattering. Green lasers, on the other hand, show significant advantages in cutting, welding, and additive manufacturing of highly reflective materials like copper compared to near-infrared lasers.

As a result, achieving high-power, high-efficiency continuous green laser output has become a major focus of laser research.

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Application of Green Lasers: 3D Printing Technology

One significant application of green lasers is in 3D printing technology. In the field of metal 3D printing, green lasers can enhance print quality and enable the 3D printing of complex structures using pure copper. Figure 3 shows the analysis results of pure copper printing using a single-mode continuous green fiber laser. The equipment integrator is Xihe Additive, and the 500W single-mode green laser used as the print source is developed by GD Laser.

In metal 3D printing, the ability of green lasers to deliver higher absorption rates in copper materials compared to near-infrared lasers results in more efficient and higher quality printing. This is especially important for creating intricate and high-precision copper components that are increasingly demanded in various high-tech industries. By using green lasers, manufacturers can achieve superior results in terms of both the structural integrity and the surface finish of 3D printed metal parts.

Green laser technology’s advancements in 3D printing exemplify its potential to revolutionize metal additive manufacturing, particularly in applications requiring the use of pure copper. This development opens up new possibilities for innovation and efficiency in producing complex metal parts.

The Application of Single-Mode Continuous Green Fiber Lasers in Pure Copper Printing

Using single-mode continuous green fiber lasers as a light source in pure copper printing is a relatively new technological field. This approach leverages the beam characteristics of green lasers to overcome the challenges traditional laser technology faces when dealing with highly reflective materials. Pure copper absorbs green light much more efficiently than near-infrared light, making green lasers more effective for processing copper materials.

The high beam quality and consistency produced by single-mode lasers are crucial for precision processing. This is especially important in pure copper printing, where the precision and consistency of the printing process must be maintained. The high absorption rate of green light by copper ensures more efficient energy utilization, reducing issues such as low processing efficiency, bubbles, and splattering that are common with near-infrared lasers.

In summary, the use of single-mode continuous green fiber lasers in pure copper 3D printing offers significant advantages. It allows for higher quality and more precise manufacturing of complex copper structures, which is increasingly vital in various advanced industries. This technological advancement is set to revolutionize metal additive manufacturing, especially for applications requiring pure copper.

Development and Applications of Short-Wavelength Lasers: UV and Blue Lasers

In the development of short-wavelength lasers, ultraviolet (UV) and blue lasers have garnered significant attention due to their unique application characteristics. The short wavelength of UV lasers demands high purity and exceptional optical properties in materials, making it challenging to find materials that can withstand high-power UV lasers. Consequently, UV lasers with power outputs exceeding 100 watts are rare in the market.

Blue lasers, while having achieved kilowatt-level power output by some manufacturers, require spatial beam combining before fiber beam combining. This process demands strict quality, stability, and power distribution of the laser beam. Compared to fiber lasers, blue lasers generally have poorer beam quality, which limits their performance in certain precision processing applications.

Advancements in Green Laser Technology

On the other hand, commercial green lasers have seen substantial progress in recent years, thanks to the efforts of researchers worldwide. In 2021, Germany’s TRUMPF Group introduced the high-power continuous green disk laser TruDisk 3022, offering up to 3kW of multimode output power. This represents the highest power in the green laser series, showcasing its advantages in copper welding applications. However, the cost is extremely high.

In 2022, IPG Photonics in the United States launched the world’s first kilowatt-level single-mode nanosecond pulse green laser, the GLPN-1000. This laser provides up to 1kW of average power, boasts a compact size, and achieves an electro-optical conversion efficiency of 25%, garnering widespread attention in the industry.

Advantages and Challenges of Green Lasers

Green lasers excel in applications requiring high absorption rates by materials such as copper, significantly improving processing efficiency and quality. The ability to maintain high beam quality and consistency, especially in single-mode operation, makes green lasers ideal for precision manufacturing and 3D printing of complex copper structures. These advancements in green laser technology not only address the limitations of traditional near-infrared lasers but also open new possibilities in industrial processing, medical treatment, and scientific research.

Xihe Additive Green Laser Metal 3D Printer

In September 2023, Shenzhen Xihe Additive, a wholly-owned subsidiary of GD Laser, unveiled its first green laser metal 3D printer, the XH-M160G. With a build volume of 160×160×200mm, this printer is capable of printing highly reflective metals such as copper, aluminum, and gold, breaking new ground in the domestic market. As green laser metal 3D printing technology continues to gain traction, there is a growing market demand for equipment with larger build volumes.

Key Features and Impact

The XH-M160G leverages the superior absorption properties of green lasers for high-reflectivity metals, addressing a significant challenge in traditional metal 3D printing. By offering enhanced print quality and efficiency, the XH-M160G opens new possibilities in industries requiring intricate and high-precision metal parts. This innovation not only meets current market needs but also sets the stage for future advancements in metal additive manufacturing.

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Xihe Additive’s Latest Green Laser Metal 3D Printer: XH-M350G

In March 2024, Xihe Additive introduced its latest green laser metal 3D printer, the XH-M350G. Featuring a net build volume of 350×350×500mm, this printer offers optional configurations with either single or dual green lasers, catering to a wide range of market demands. The XH-M350G is capable of printing a variety of materials, including pure copper (Cu), copper chromium zirconium (CuCrZr), copper chromium niobium (CuCrNb), tin bronze (CuSn10), copper-aluminum alloys, copper-nickel alloys, tungsten, tantalum, gold, and platinum.

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Key Advantages and Applications

The XH-M350G leverages the high absorption rate of green lasers in reflective metals, providing superior print quality and efficiency for complex and high-precision parts. The increased build volume and flexible laser configurations make it suitable for a wide range of industrial applications, from electronics to aerospace and medical devices. This advancement underscores Xihe Additive’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of metal additive manufacturing, addressing the growing market need for larger and more versatile 3D printing solutions.

Near Single-Mode 2kW Continuous Green Fiber Laser

According to the latest report from market research firm Optech Consulting, the global material processing laser systems market was estimated to be worth $23.5 billion in 2023, reflecting a 4% year-over-year growth. The demand for high-power green lasers continues to rise alongside the development of high-end manufacturing.

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Shenzhen GD Laser specializes in the research, production, and sales of “advanced short-wavelength fiber lasers” and “laser precision processing solutions.” The company focuses on the development, production, and application solutions for medium and high-power short-wavelength (green and UV) all-fiber lasers. Following their release of a 500W single-mode green laser in 2022 and a 1000W single-mode and 3000W multimode continuous green laser in 2023, GD Laser has now introduced a near single-mode green fiber laser with a maximum output power of 2kW. This new laser has already been tested and verified by customers in relevant industries.

Key Features and Market Impact

The introduction of the 2kW near single-mode green fiber laser addresses the increasing demand for high-power green lasers in various high-end manufacturing sectors. This laser offers superior beam quality and consistency, making it ideal for precision processing applications. The high absorption rate of green light by reflective materials such as copper and aluminum enhances processing efficiency and quality, making this laser a valuable tool in industries like electronics, aerospace, and medical devices.

GD Laser’s continuous innovation in green laser technology demonstrates their commitment to advancing the capabilities of metal additive manufacturing and other precision processing applications. This new 2kW laser not only expands their product portfolio but also strengthens their position in the global laser market, meeting the growing needs of modern manufacturing.

Conclusion and Outlook

GD Laser’s latest introduction of the near single-mode 2kW continuous green fiber laser represents the world’s highest average power quasi-single-mode continuous fiber green laser. This product launch significantly enhances the processing capabilities for high-reflective materials, ensuring high-quality and consistent laser beam output with near single-mode characteristics. It is poised to deliver higher welding quality, efficiency, and depth of fusion, particularly in thick copper material processing.

The all-fiber fundamental frequency and extracavity frequency doubling structure provide high stability and reliability, while maintaining compactness and ease of integration for the laser system. With continuous technological advancements and maturing market demands, we anticipate that high-power fiber green lasers will unlock new possibilities for society.

High-power green lasers demonstrate clear advantages in precision welding of copper materials, particularly in applications such as IGBT electronics and flat wire motors, offering minimal heat impact, reduced spatter, stable tensile strength, and high yield rates. Beyond its physical advantages in welding high-reflective metals like copper, these lasers also hold immense potential for high-precision and efficient copper material 3D printing.

Looking ahead, GD Laser remains committed to advancing innovation, enhancing laser power, efficiency, and reliability, while reducing costs to address a broader range of critical applications. This dedication will contribute to the global advancement of high-end manufacturing technologies, shaping the future of industrial capabilities worldwide.


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