As revealed in the May News & Review, I am happy to provide an update on LIA’s Laser U. With modules now available from ICALEO 2012, LME 2012, LAM 2013 and ILSC 2013, there’s a variety of topics from which to choose. Each Laser U course is worth .25 certification maintenance (CM) points, with the exception of The Basics of Ultrafast Laser Machining – a two-part presentation that is worth .5 CM point.

For an idea of what the courses have to offer, the following overviews are provided by your fellow CLSOs.



Course: The Basics of Ultrafast Laser Machining

Speaker: Reinhart Poprawe

This training session is intended to give the viewer an introduction to machining with lasers that emit very short pulses, less than a nanosecond. The training is given in 4 modules over two sessions lasting a total of just over 2 hours.

Session 1 lasts about one hour fifteen minutes. There is a long introduction to applications of the technology where many examples are presented and discussed. The presenter touches only briefly on the physics and practical aspects of how drilling/machining is done. It could be more useful to the viewer if the presenter spent more time on these topics. Large area processing is covered with a good presentation of what may come next for larger parts. 

Session 2 of the training is about 45 minutes long and is more technical. Here the presenter covers more of the details of some machining processes. Experimental setups are presented and discussed; the graphics are somewhat challenging to view. It is important to note that some of the basic equations for ultrafast machining are presented; however, it is difficult to read them. This is a good concise presentation that would benefit the more technical viewer as a separate training session, “Practical Approach to Ultrafast Laser Machining.”


Course: The Basics of Ultrafast Laser Machining

Speaker: Reinhart Poprawe

The Laser Institute of America (LIA) has recently launched Laser U.  Laser U is a convenient way to access recorded presentations from LIA’s conferences and workshops from any computer with an internet connection. I reviewed The Basics of Ultrafast Laser Machining presented by Dr. Reinhart Poprawe during the 2012 Lasers for Manufacturing Event. 

The website is professionally done and purchasing the course for viewing is straight forward. The course presentation materials and synchronized video of the speaker are presented in a split screen arrangement. The video and audio are of good quality and the presentation slides can be viewed in enlarged or with several on the page together. The interface allows you to jump back and forth in the presentation making it easy to repeat an important point. The system also allows you to take notes online in a separate dialog box. An online test is available at the end of each module to assess understanding of the material. Passing the test results in a training certificate being generated online.

I found Dr. Poprawe’s to be very interesting, educational and professionally done. While its emphasis was not on laser safety, it did enlighten me as to how many applications ultrafast lasers have. Of particular interest to me was the ability to very precisely bore holes in turbine blades. Because of the nature of ultrafast lasers, the thermal effects on the material close the hole in minimal and the hole can be easily shaped in ways that would be very difficult using conventional means. One could easily foresee that machining operations using ultrafast lasers will make a good compliment to the revolution that is happening in 3D laser printing of engineering prototypes. It is likely that ultrafast lasers will become much more common in the research and manufacturing environments and it is important for laser safety professionals to both understand the applications and have the necessary tools and knowledge to ensure safety of those involved with their use. 


Course: Laser Safety – Simple Keys to a Safe Environment

Speaker: Gus Anibarro

It was my pleasure to review the presentation “Laser Safety – Simple Keys to a Safe Environment” made by Gus Anibarro, Educational Director at LIA. Gus has great communications skills and manages to overcome a power failure in the middle of his presentation. In only one hour he succeeds in giving a lesson on the essentials of laser safety (laser classes, beam and non-beam hazards, MPE, NHZ, engineering, administrative and procedural hazards controls, regulatory requirements for laser producers and users). Despite some small inaccuracies, I consider this to be a very useful course for laser users and Laser Safety Officers working in an industrial setting. 


Course: Fundamentals of Laser Robotics

Speaker: Doug Hixon

This presentation thoroughly explores the issues inherent to laser robotics applications, which is demonstrated to be vastly different from the typical robotic applications. It is evident that the speaker, Douglas Hixon, is an expert in this realm of laser application based on his experience and the content presented.

The lesson moves through an organized series of informational media, mixing standard slides with video clips that are supportive of the topic. The videos provide the viewer with examples of cutting edge trends within the field of laser robotics, showing several processed-based applications. 

The slide presentations lead the viewer through the wide variety of issues (e.g. accuracy, performance, programming, calibration) that must be addressed to achieve a desired product, and offers some generalized solutions as to how to overcome these obstacles. Current industrial robot types and recommendations based on application are also included.

Overall, this presentation could be a very useful tool to aid process line developers as associated with laser robotics.


Course: Main Types of Lasers Used for Manufacturing – Key Properties and Key Applications

Speaker: Tom Kugler

As a CLSO whose experience has been focused on medical and research applications, I found this talk very informative and interesting. The material was presented in a very methodical, logical way, with a great balance of theory and real world application. Tom Kugler is an excellent speaker! I highly recommend this course to fellow CLSOs! This is a great introduction to laser use in manufacturing applications!


Course: Main Types of Lasers Used for Manufacturing – Key Properties and Key Applications

Speaker: Tom Kugler

Tom Kugler is a dynamic speaker who doesn’t drone on. He speaks to slides but doesn’t read them to you, which I really appreciated. The transcript of the speaker is useful for when he says something that isn’t on the slides. The course presents a lot of information in the slides which would be useful for addtional study or future reference. I enjoyed the presentation; although not being able to follow where the speaker is pointing to on the slides was sometimes disappointing.

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