Latest trends in laser-based glass processing

In addition to the use of the ultrashort pulse laser for subtractive methods, 3D printing with filler material was also shown at the glass workshop. (Photo: LZH)

Selective laser etching combines the use of an ultrashort pulse laser with a subsequent etching process, enabling a subtractive 3D manufacturing process. (Photo: Lightfabs)

Ten top-class experts from industry and science presented the latest advances in laser processing of glass materials. (Photo: LZH)

As every year in the Advent season, more than 50 participants met on December 05th, 2018 for the workshop "Laser Processing of Glass Materials". This year, the LZH opened its doors for the eighth edition of this event series that is jointly organized the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Bayerische Laserzentrum GmbH (blz). The key topics included, among others, the additive and subtractive manufacturing of glass materials.

CO-lasers for the separation of filamented glass materials are currently very popular. Reasons for this are the meanwhile improved cost-effectiveness and the higher optical penetration depth in the glass material of 5.5 μm. As a result, the laser radiation can penetrate deeper into the component. This opens up completely new fields of application in industry. Another important issue was the laser cutting of angled surfaces on workpiece edges. Angles of up to 20 degrees are already possible today. Now, it is up to science to extend the process to larger angles.

Automated production with additive and subtractive manufacturing
"Conventionally manufactured, transparent glass components for chemical apparatus engineering and medical technology require many process steps, which entail high reject rates in the currently often manual production. Using a CO2 laser-based 3D printing process, we manufacture such components with wall thicknesses in the millimeter range on a single system in a much shorter time, "reported Leonhard Pohl from the LZH. "Together with our project partner, we now want to automate this process for the Industry 4.0." Exceptionally high precision can be achieved using subtractive manufacturing with ultrashort pulse lasers (UKP laser). "Miniature components with resolutions in the μm-range are possible with subtractive 3D printing technology. In this process, areas of the component are first modified by means of a UKP laser and then removed by an etching process, "explains Arndt Hohnholz, Head of the Glass Group at the LZH.

The approximately 20 scientists and over 30 industry representatives used the get-together on the eve and the workshop breaks for expert discussions, networking and visiting the accompanying company exhibition.

Next workshop date: December 05th, 2019 in Nuremberg
The 9th Workshop "Laser Processing of Glass Materials" will again be jointly organized by the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. and the Bayerische Laserzentrum GmbH (blz) on December 05th, 2019 in Nuremberg. Prospective attendees can already sign up for the mailing list by sending an e-mail to The workshop is held in German language.

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Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH)

As an independent, non-profit research institute, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) stands for innovative research, development and consulting. The LZH is supported by the Niedersachsen Ministry of Economic Affairs, Employment, Transport and Digitalisation and is dedicated to the selfless promotion of applied research in the field of photonics and laser technology. Founded in 1986, over 170 employees are now working for the LZH.

The focus of the LZH lies on the fields of optical components and systems, optical production technologies, and biomedical photonics. Interdisciplinary cooperation between natural scientists and mechanical engineers makes innovative approaches to challenges from the most different areas possible: from the development of components for specific laser systems to process developments for the most diverse laser applications, for example for medical technology or lightweight construction in the automotive sector. Eighteen spin off companies have emerged from the LZH up to now. Thus, the LZH has created a strong transfer between fundamental sciences, application oriented research, and industry.