Laser machining has huge potential in a wide variety of fields due to its tool free manufacturing capabilities and processing speed compared to traditional metal cutting. There is a strong drive to adopt laser techniques in industries such as medical and aerospace due to these sectors requiring high levels of confidence in the structural quality of their parts. Current methods for testing laser machining parameters and component quality rely on post process analysis of the manufactured parts through both destructive and non-destructive methods, which is costly and time consuming.
This project aims to improve the reliability of laser machining processes by integrating topography measuring technology into the laser chamber. The first part of the project will be to quantitatively assess the important defects and topography features that need to be detected using off-line technologies (optical and electron). Once a catalogue of features has been produced, the measurement system will be designed with speed being the defining characteristic. Sensors to be investigated include fringe projection, photogrammetry, focus variation and laser scattering, and potentially combinations of these. The sensors themselves are already under development at Nottingham, so the project will focus on their integration and use to control the laser manufacturing process.