Our Vision is to allow the UK manufacturing industry to take advantage of high quality, high precision, repeatable and flexible laser-based production processes by bringing together a multi-disciplinary team of researchers and key industry partners to develop and refine new manufacturing techniques.
Our research programme will build around the following themes
- There are increasing manufacturing applications for laser processing at micron-scale resolution, including material removal, surface and bulk structuring, joining and surface texturing, smoothing and polishing. Research in this theme covers the fundamentals of laser ablation and melt flow on the micro scale on a range of different materials using pulse lengths fromthe nanosecond to femtosecond regime.
- Laser Development & Engineering
- Research ongoing in this theme will underpin the development of technologies and components crucial to the hardware supply chain for laser-based machine manufacture. Research efforts concentrate on new laser device technologies, including solid state lasers pumped by diode laser arrays, with particular focus on the development of laser systems producing trains of ultrashort pulse pulses to enable significant expansion in novel laser processing applications.
- Fusion Based Processes
- The focus of this theme during the first year of the Centre has been additive manufacture applications where there is an urgent need to solve the unreliability and low efficiency of the laser-based process, concentrating on laser powder and laser shaped wire interaction and fundamentals. Outputs will feed into improved powder bed technology and a new laser-based additive manufacture process combining a very high power laser with wire strip.
- Sensing & Process Control
- Real time control of laser-based processes is a key laser system goal, and techniques for sensing and monitoring of such laser-material interaction processes is a basic requirement to achieve reliable, flexible laser-based production processes. Important aspects of the system design for specific laser machines will be addressed (e.g. for additive manufacture, UV laser processing, joining, peening) to achieve cost effective manufacture and high-level performance.
- Seedcorn Projects in partnership with SMEs and researchers that are currently external to the centre.
The EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Laser-based Production Processes started on 1 October 2013 supported by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council and 31 Industrial partners.