Expanded Center of Excellence Delivers Customer Benefits
Coherent Glasgow unifies ultrafast laser operations in a state-of-the-art volume production facility for femtosecond and picosecond lasers.
September 19, 2023 by Coherent
Coherent has unified all the company’s ultrafast laser operations – including all picosecond and femtosecond laser manufacturing – at a single location: the Ultrafast Center of Excellence in Glasgow, Scotland.
Coherent Glasgow was already a state-of-the-art volume production facility focused on lean manufacturing and recently expanded to accommodate this important unification. Flagship femtosecond lasers like the Coherent Monaco and picosecond lasers — such as the Rapid and HyperRapid series — will all now be manufactured at the same Glasgow location.
According to Chris Dorman, Executive Vice President, Lasers Business, “Creating this expanded Center of Excellence change will enable incredible cross-product synergy and standardization of components and processes, and will enable integrated resource planning.
Most importantly, this will translate into a number of key advantages for our customers, particularly our volume OEMs, including:
- A single point of contact for all ultrashort pulse (USP) lasers
- Accelerated product development
- Shorter lead times
- Faster volume ramp up
- Operational flexibility
- Plus several other tangible benefits”
He adds that, “This major shift in company structure is testament to the maturity of femtosecond lasers today, which equal picosecond models in term of both their stability and long-term reliability, operational simplicity, and compact rugged packaging. This maturity is manifested in both the lasers themselves and the way they are used, for example, in high-throughput 24/7 industrial applications like cutting flexible displays, in life sciences applications such as cancer cell analysis, and in “hardcore” laboratory scientific research such as attosecond physics.”
Simple-to-use, ultra-reliable, push-button femtosecond lasers
In all these areas, Dorman notes that femtosecond lasers have become simple to use, ultra-reliable, push-button tools – a far cry from the engineering novelties of a few years ago. “They are smaller than ever, more powerful than ever, and most types now deliver push button state-of-the-art performance in a rugged closed-box format.”
These characteristics have allowed femtosecond lasers to be “buried” deep within production tools and machines targeting applications in the display and semiconductor industries, where 24/7 operation is a prerequisite. The lasers are also widely used for precision cutting in the medical device manufacturing sector, e.g., for next generation coronary stents.
Femtosecond lasers have also been scaled up in power, with the latest Monaco models offering up to 150 watts in the infrared, or up to 50 watts of ultraviolet output. The latter is an important enabling performance landmark for volume cutting of flexible displays.
Fabian Soerensen, Product Line Manager Industrial Ultrashort Pulse Lasers, explains this evolution in applications utility has occurred in parallel with changes in the way the lasers are manufactured. He states, “A key aspect of Ultrashort Pulse lasers today is their maturity as turnkey materials-processing tools, albeit with some incredible and unique capabilities. Customers from major manufacturers to small job shops no longer need an in-house laser engineer. Highly efficient methods are already well-proven for volume production of our picosecond industrial lasers and our scientific femtosecond lasers such as Chameleon. Now all our USP/ultrafast lasers will benefit from exactly the same lean manufacturing methods.”
Soerensen adds that another factor behind this unification was the fast-growing OEM demand for Monaco lasers in both the display and semiconductor industries. He explains, “These lasers are popular in both industries, combining femtosecond pulse widths with tens of watts of UV power or up to 150 watts of near-infrared power to keep pace with upstream and downstream processes in high-throughput applications with the highest quality requirements.”
Sorensen summarizes, “We’ve had great success to now, manufacturing these lasers in Santa Clara, California. Now is the right time to move production to Scotland where we have the technology and expertise in place for ramped-up production with extremely high unit-to-unit consistency. We are able to provide the flexibility demanded by our OEM customers while increasing the reliability and overall performance of our products, making the transformation from a scientific curiosity to the industrial cornerstone it is today.”
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