Air travel is part of everyday life yet the technology behind it is anything but common. Aerospace encompasses everything from commercial travel, military to space travel. At Advanced Optowave Corporation, we are looking at different methods of laser machining for this industry that can provide the next technical breakthrough for either machining Hastelloy, Inconel, Silicon Carbide and Single Crystal Nickel components found in jet engines such as turbine blades, down to simple marking of components for traceability.

Overall, anything that has to do with the aerospace industry needs to revolve around safety as a first concern of the passengers or payload and the equipment, and this all starts with keeping the integrity of the material throughout the manufacturing process and then into operation.

Traceability is one area where laser processing has been introduced in the last 10 years for the aerospace industry. Currently, regulations still exist that limit only certain components and composites to be laser marked. This is due to the fact that some lasers can introduce heat into the material causing micro-fractures to the material.

With our AOFemto femtosecond laser, we are able to eliminate the HAZ (heat affected zone) and allow for marking that does not cause the micro-cracking affect. In turn, this can be a game changer for companies that need to mark their critical parts. There is no other laser marking method that will allow the mark to hold up under the harsh environmental conditions found in the aerospace market.

Turbine engines are designed to run at extremely high temperatures. The combustion and the high-pressure section of the engine experience temperatures at times that exceed the melting point of the materials used in those sections.

Engine manufacturers place thousands of small cooling holes in the high-temperature components that are used to dissipate the heat and help cool the turbine blades and combustor liners. In order for the holes to perform their necessary function, the output of these small holes needs to be shaped so the colder air is forced to travel along the surface of the blade. Advance Optowave’s AONano product is perfectly aligned to produce these holes.

New materials are continually being developed for turbine engines but as we see in other markets with new materials they are proving to be difficult for traditional machining methods and for the traditional nanosecond lasers. Advance Optowave’s Ultrashort pulse lasers are proving to be ideal for machining these unique materials with precise geometries that are required for turbine blades and vanes.

With increasing fuel cost and regulations to lower jet engine emissions, aerospace companies are looking at ways to improve fuel economy and lower their emissions. Some of the ways they are achieving their goals are with new materials and new cooling hole geometries all designed to increase airflow through the engine and increase the combustibility. With the use of lasers, engine designers are able to realize their designs and create new unique components and manufacturing methods that allow them to push the limits of these engines to produce a more efficient, cleaner turbine platform.

Your Laser Solution for Aerospace Applications

With the advancements in the aerospace industry, there will always be a need to improve the manufacturing processes. Lasers have become the next generation manufacturing tool for this industry. At Advanced Optowave Corporation, we offer the traditional AONano product line for general machining all the way to the ultrashort pulse laser processing with the AOPico and AOFemto lasers for more unique and athermal machining capabilities.