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An undeniable beneficial push

The overall winner of the Innovation Award 2023 comes from Jerusalem. Civan Lasers impressed the jury with its high-power DBL 100kW laser. In the interview, Ami Spira, Vice President of Marketing, explains the concept of the 100 kW laser, and reports on what impact the award is already having.

Belated congratulations on winning the Innovation Award. What are the strengths of your award-winning 100 kW laser?

Ami Spira: Thank you. Our laser is a high-power laser with a high beam density, and it is very variable thanks to its Dynamic Beam functions with no moving parts. That allows it to generate any beam shape and wobble pattern in the megahertz range. It shows its strengths especially in welding thick steels by producing high quality welds in one pass at atmospheric pressure – in other words, without complex vacuum technology – while achieving the necessary penetration depths, but still working at a fast pace.

What’s the technical concept behind it – and what were the challenges in its implementation?

Spira: OPA technology is based on the idea of coherent beam combining (CBC): Many single-mode laser beams are merged into one larger beam. Each laser emits light which overlaps with other beams in the far field to create a diffraction pattern. This approach provides the necessary flexibility to manipulate the beam shape in real time without any moving parts. The result is a highly Dynamic Beam Laser (DBL). The challenge was to combine all the beams coherently. For that to work we have to ensure mutual coherence, the identical phase, and the same polarization of the combined beams, and their optical path must be identical. It’s extremely difficult to achieve these conditions – and a whole lot more difficult to maintain them permanently and reliably in industrial use, since every vibration or temperature difference is a disruptive factor with a potential influence on the four prerequisites mentioned.

What are the customer benefits, and which fields of application are you focusing on?

Spira: The Dynamic Beam Laser offers two main advantages: The first is its very high power in combination with a high beam density. And the second is the ability to steer its beam in the XYZ axis in such a way that any shape and scanning pattern can be generated. As a result, it offers superb control in welding applications of the thermal distribution in time and space, and of the fluid dynamics of the molten material at the focus point, which leads to high quality welds. The most important fields of application are shipbuilding, power plant construction, and manufacturing wind turbines, where our laser welds steels that are up to seven centimeters thick.

Are you already noticing impacts of your victory at the Innovation Award?

Spira: Absolutely! Since securing the Innovation Award, we’ve experienced a considerable upsurge in interest surrounding our product. This recognition not only validated our efforts but also played a role in amplifying our reach and introducing our offerings to a wider audience of potential clients. It has undeniably given us a beneficial push in the market.

You’re now at 100-kW lasers. What power ranges can the technology reach – and do you already see limits to what makes sense?

Spira: Our technology approach is scalable and capable of reaching higher power levels with no physical limitations. However, it’s not clear whether even higher power levels are needed for welding applications. If we see this need, or if customers approach us with that wish, it won’t take us long to develop even more powerful lasers and offer them to our customers.