Global provider of technologies for the measurement and analysis of advanced manufacturing processes, MKS Instruments, Andover, Massachusetts, USA, under its Ophir brand, has introduced the Ariel, a self-contained, compact laser power meter for measuring lasers up to 8 KW.
The Ariel is a battery-powered device that requires no water or fan cooling and fits in the palm of a hand, allowing its use in closed and confined spaces, for tasks such as Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) Additive Manufacturing, metal cutting and welding.
The system measures laser powers from 200 mW to 8 KW, and a range of wavelengths, including 440–550 nm green and blue lasers, 900 nm –1100 nm fibre lasers and 10.6 µm CO2 lasers. The Ariel meter also provides a range of measurements options: it can be operated in continuous or short exposure mode, can be used with or without a diffuser for higher power densities, can be operated standalone or wirelessly, and is said to deliver readings three to five times faster than comparable devices.
“Accurately measuring laser power is critical for ensuring product quality, repeatability of operations, and process validation in manufacturing operations,” stated Reuven Silverman, General Manager, Ophir Photonics, an MKS brand. “But for high power lasers, this tends to require devices that are large and slow, making it difficult to incorporate power measurement in OEM equipment and production operations with closed and confined spaces. The Ariel industrial power meter has been created for environments not suitable for human operators and where cables or separate display units are not allowed, such as Additive Manufacturing chambers. Its fast response time delivers measurements in three seconds.”
The Ariel industrial power meter combines two modes of operation to deliver a large measurement range from 200 mW to 8 KW. The first measures the energy of a short time exposure for high power lasers up to 8 KW, with a longer power measurement for lower powers up to 500 W. The system’s thermal capacity of 14kJ means it can measure several consecutive pulses with an accumulated energy of 14kJ before needing time to cool. A detachable diffuser also allows measurement of high-power density beams.
Communication options include Bluetooth for passing readings from inside a closed machine to a mobile phone or laptop, and a USB-C interface. The power meter can also be operated in standalone mode with data displayed on a built-in 128×64 pixel LCD display or saved in internal memory.
Software support is provided by Ophir StarViewer, an Android app, or Ophir StarLab, PC software. In StarViewer, data can be displayed as time-based line graph, needle display, or large numeric display with statistics. With StarLab, data can be viewed graphically as line plots, histograms, bar charts, and simulated analogue needles. Advanced measurement processing functions include multi-channel comparisons and user-defined mathematical equations.