Enterprises rely on developments in technology to gain competitive advantages and in recent years laser technology has helped transform some aspects of business manufacturing.
What is laser technology? The word itself is short for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The term light amplification is important because a laser is able to calculate distances very accurately by measuring very short pulses of infrared light and the time in which it takes them to cover the distance in question. A laser will start by emitting weak light before adding greater levels of energy to make the light waves more concentrated. This concentration of light makes lasers very precise and very powerful.
Lasers are relatively new compared to other technologies used in manufacturing. The first working one appeared in 1960 and was the invention of a U.S. engineer and physicist called Theodore Harold Maiman. At the time, he was working for the Hughes Aircraft Company on a project for the U.S. Army Signal Corps. If you study the development of many technologies, you will quickly realize that they start with a narrow application and subsequently find all sorts of uses and the laser is no exception.
You may even take applications of laser technology for granted and it would be easy to do so. Barcode scanners used in almost every retail outlet use them to convert the information stored on a product’s barcode. Lasers are used in conjunction with fibre-optics to transmit vast amounts of data over Internet cables. If you or a family member or friend have undergone eye surgery then you will more than likely have benefited from this technology to correct your vision. Other medical uses of lasers include the stitching up of incisions following surgery. The printer you use at home or in work is probably a laser printer. The type of research into lasers that Theodore Maiman was doing on behalf of the U.S. military has been built on in the following decades and there are ongoing efforts to develop them for use in space exploration.
Lasers have broad uses across the manufacturing sector. They appeal to manufacturers because they offer a high level of precision and are easy to automate in a factory setting. Automation has become a key source of innovation in manufacturing and lasers can be easily attached to robots to deliver greater efficiency on the factory floor.
One person who can tell you all about the benefits of lasers in manufacturing is Jatin Mehta who is the chairman of Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery Limited. The company insists on high standards for its quality products and their timely deliver to customers. Using laser machines to cut diamonds means that Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery Limited can maintain its high standards.
Diamond cutting technology that uses lasers offer a number of key benefits:
It is very precise
It enables repeatable tasks, which is very important in a manufacturing context
Such machines save time
They cut down on the need for skilled workers on the factory floor
They cut back on material loss compared to conventional methods of cutting
Lasers are very robust and have relatively low maintenance requirements.
In a factory setting, traditional cutting tools have to be maintained on a regular basis, not least because they go blunt from continuous contact with the material they are working. Lasers are a no-contact tool, so the same level of maintenance is not required and they do not have to be replaced so often.
Lasers are very useful for work on materials that are brittle or pliable. In the 1960s, one of the first uses of a laser in industry was to insert holes in the rubber nipples attached to baby’s bottles. Such a task was very challenging indeed using older drilling methods.
The automotive industry has been one of the front-runners in adopting lasers for use in manufacturing; car manufacturers employ them to fuse metals. Lasers also provide an economical way to cut metal, which is crucial in a competitive sector like vehicle manufacture. Using the technology also allows car makers to bend metals in such a way as to make the body of a vehicle more dynamic and lighter, affording lower running costs for the end customer.
Working harder and working smarter are key priorities for any business and laser technology enables both. You can expect to see manufacturing enterprises continuing to expand the use of lasers in their operations.