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Using the Olympus OLS4100 Laser Confocal Microscope to Measure Dross in Laser Cutting Applications


Background

Machining parts by punching and stamping can be problematic because the process typically creates shear droops with smooth surfaces on the punch side and burrs with serrated surfaces on the die side. This makes subsequent machining difficult if the workpiece is thick or if the material is difficult to process, such as stainless steel or titanium. In addition, the speed and accuracy of punching and press machining has remained stagnant. Because of these issues, laser cutting has become increasingly popular. Two advantages of laser cutting are that it works well on a variety of materials and yields high quality finished products. While laser cutting does not produce shear droops or burrs, the heat of the laser sometimes causes material to melt off the workpiece and adhere to the back of the laser-irradiated plane. To help prevent adhesion, molten material is blown off by an assist gas before it cools. In some cases, though, a portion of material is able to re-solidify. This unwanted material is called ‘dross.’ To ensure the accuracy of laser cuts and the quality of finished products, the amount of dross must be carefully measured (Figures 1 and 2).

The Olympus solutions

The Olympus OLS4100 3D laser measuring microscope enables you to make non-contact, highly accurate 3D measurements on workpieces to evaluate the size and shape of dross. The microscope’s high inclination sensitivity makes accurate measurements of dross with complex geometries and steep angles.

Features of the product

The Olympus OLS4100 makes 3D microshape, non-contact measurements. The microscope features ultra-high-resolution measurement capabilities with a high pixel density to ensure accuracy. The OLS4100’s high inclination sensitivity is excellent for making accurate measurements of complex and steep-sided dross.

Image

High-resolution image of incoming laser side of a workpiece and associated measurements 01 High-resolution image of incoming laser side of a workpiece and associated measurements 02

High-resolution image of incoming laser side of a workpiece and associated measurements 03

Figure 1: High-resolution image of incoming laser side of a workpiece and associated measurements

High-resolution image of outgoing laser side of a workpiece and associated measurements showing dross 01 High-resolution image of outgoing laser side of a workpiece and associated measurements showing dross 02

High-resolution image of outgoing laser side of a workpiece and associated measurements showing dross 03

Figure 2: High resolution image of outgoing laser side of a workpiece and associated measurements showing dross

Olympus IMS

Products used for this application


LEXT OLS5000NEW

With the Olympus LEXT OLS5000 laser scanning confocal microscope, noncontact, nondestructive 3D observations and measurements are easy to produce. Simply by pushing the Start button, users can measure fine shapes at the submicron level. Ease of use is combined with leading-edge features to deliver an acquisition speed four times faster than our previous model. For customers with larger samples, LEXT long working distance objectives and an extended frame option allow the system to accommodate samples as large as 210 mm.
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