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The Effectiveness and Working of the

Laser Drilling Machines
Laser an acronym for (Light Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation)
is a technology that makes use of the coherent beam of light in stimulating molecular
or electronic transmissions to the lower energy levels resulting in the emission of the
photons. This is the core principle behind the working of the laser drilling machines.

The Laser Drilling
Laser drilling is an automated process that can be used to make drills of alloys and
composites that cannot be drilled by the use of the conventional methods. Laser
drilling provides the only solution for the toughest and the hardest drilling challenges.

The use of laser drilling machine enables nearly all the solid materials ranging from
metals to diamonds can be drilled by the use of a suitable laser. Time minute holes
that are impossible to create with the use of mechanical processes cab be facilitated by
the use of a laser. The drilling is done contact-free with the use of the extreme small
optical systems that make drilling be possible at locations where the use of other
methods could fail.
The laser beam melts and evaporates the material. This leads to an increase in the
material volume in the drill hole leading to the creation of high vapor pressure. The
high vapor pressure drives the melt out of the drill hole. In laser drilling, all the laser
light is reflected from the rear mirror with 30-50% of the light passing through the
front mirror. The laser light continues through the shutter assembly to the angled
mirror and down through the focusing length up to the work piece. The laser beam in
the laser hole drilling process is coherent with a high energy content. When focused
on a surface, the laser light creates the heat that is used for the hole drilling.
Types of Laser Drilling Processes
1. The Single-pulse drilling and percussion drilling
This method is used in the penetration of the drill holes which have a small material
thickness, creating a few micrometers of depth. Percussion drilling makes use of the
desired drilling depth with the thicker materials by the means of a couple of laser
pulses with a low pulse energy and short pulse duration. This results in the creation of
holes that are deeper, more precise and with the smaller diameter as compared to the
single pulse drilling.
2. Trepanning
Trepanning is a combination of the drilling and cutting process that is used in
obtaining larger diameter. The starting hole is created by the use of percussion drilling
with the use of several laser pulses. The laser beam the travels over the material in
increasing large circular tracks over a certain work piece enlarging the initial hole
with the melted material displacing downward from the drill hole.
3. Helical Drilling
Helical drilling is used in the creation of large and deep drill holes of high quality.
Using this process, no initial hole is created bit the drilling is done with the use of
many large pulses in a circular track into the work piece. Here, the material is
displaced upwards and the focus is controlled so that it always remains at the bottom
of the hole. When the material has been penetrated, the laser is used to widen the
bottom of the drilling and to smoothen the edges.

The benefits of using laser drilling include;
– The processing of high alloy metals without difficulty
– Low cost tools that do not wear
– Facilitation of the angled drilling of holes even at the most difficult access areas.
– There is an economic setup time
– It is a non-contact process as there is no tooling wear or breakage with minimal
material distortion
– Produces high accuracy and consistent results
– There is the ability to produce small diameter holes with high aspect ratio
– Ease of programming and the adaptability to automation
– Increases the production rates with flexible and faster setup times and less tooling
The use of laser drilling machines enhances versatility as the same tool can be used
for laser drilling and laser cutting. There is flexibility in the changeovers for the
different prototypes used with small batch processing. The machine has the capacity
for a higher degree of beam manipulation including the ability to drill shallow angles

and shaped holes. The laser machine has the capacity to drill multiple features
simultaneously with the ability to process a wide range of materials.