(19)
(11)EP 2 651 594 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
25.03.2020 Bulletin 2020/13

(21)Application number: 11799846.8

(22)Date of filing:  28.11.2011
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B23K 26/08(2014.01)
B23K 26/14(2014.01)
B23K 26/04(2014.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/IB2011/055333
(87)International publication number:
WO 2012/080883 (21.06.2012 Gazette  2012/25)

(54)

LASER BEAM MACHINING DEVICE AND A PROCESS OF LASER MACHINING COMPRISING A SINGLE LENS FOR LIGHT FOCUSSING

LASERSTRAHLBEARBEITUNGSVORRICHTUNG UND VERFAHREN ZUR LASERBEARBEITUNG MIT EINER EINZELLINSE ZUR LICHTFOKUSSIERUNG

DISPOSITIF D'USINAGE AU FAISCEAU LASER ET PROCÉDÉ D'USINAGE LASER COMPRENANT UNE LENTILLE UNIQUE POUR LA FOCALISATION DE LA LUMIÈRE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 16.12.2010 EP 10195433
16.12.2010 US 423992 P

(43)Date of publication of application:
23.10.2013 Bulletin 2013/43

(73)Proprietor: Bystronic Laser AG
CH-3362 Niederönz (CH)

(72)Inventor:
  • WITTWER, Stefan
    CH-3360 Herzogenbuchsee (CH)

(74)Representative: Schwarz und Baldus Patentanwälte 
Hermann-Schmid-Straße 10
80336 München
80336 München (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
WO-A1-2007/135460
JP-A- 7 132 390
JP-A- 2002 283 085
US-A- 5 061 839
US-A1- 2005 115 940
JP-A- 6 198 477
JP-A- 2001 129 679
JP-A- 2006 035 247
US-A- 5 815 626
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description


    [0001] This application claims benefit of foreign priority to EPO application no. EP10195433 filed on December 16, 2010 and also claims priority to, and as a non-provisional of, U.S. provisional application ser.no. 61/423,992 filed on December 16, 2010.

    [0002] The invention relates to a laser beam machining device comprising a light exit point, which emits unfocussed laser light, and a single lens after the light exit point in the direction of radiation, which focuses the laser light and is designed to guide the focussed laser light onto a machining point of a workpiece and which is movable in said direction of radiation. Furthermore, the invention relates to the usage of a laser beam machining device.

    [0003] Material processing with the aid of a laser has long been known. A highly energised light beam is directed onto a material and melts it, vaporises it and/or burns it. Materials can thus be separated (laser cutting) and also joined (laser welding). For example, CO2 lasers, disc lasers, Nd: YAG lasers, fibre lasers and recently also diode lasers are used for this purpose. An important point in the case of material processing using lasers is the focussing of the laser beam onto a focal spot.

    [0004] For example, DE 20 2007 018 689 U1 discloses a system for this purpose for actively adjusting the focus position in optical systems for high-energy laser radiation for laser beam machining of materials. This system consists of a sensor for detecting the focus position, a control processor and a movable shaft of the optical system for changing and correcting the focus position.

    [0005] Further solutions for adjusting the focus position of a laser beam are disclosed in WO 2008/019 681 A1, US 2010/0096370 A1, EP 2 042 258 A1, WO 2009/016645 A2, US 7,786,404 B2, EP 1 998 215 A1, EP 0 536 951 A2, JP 7132390 A, JP 6198477 A, US 5,061,839 A, US 2005/115940A1 and WO 2007/135460 A1.

    [0006] Other documents describe laser beam machining heads which, in addition to a drive means for the focussing optical system, also comprise more or less complex compensation mechanisms in connection with the supply of working gas, cleaning gas and/or cooling gas. The principle of these compensation mechanisms is generally based on the fact that a change in pressure of the aforementioned auxiliary gases may lead to an undesired displacement of the focussing optical system. For example, an increase in the working or cutting gas below the focussing optical system leads to an increased pressure in the focussing optical system. The aim of such a compensation means is to compensate for this increase in pressure via piston surfaces acting in opposite directions.

    [0007] In this type of laser beam machining device the drive means for the focussing optical system either consists of mechanical or hydraulic drives arranged outside the laser beam machining head, or is integrated in the walls of the laser beam machining head. The wall chambers are pressurised with fluid which in each case acts on a piston surface which is in turn connected to the focussing optical system or forms a part thereof.

    [0008] These documents include, in particular, EP 1 743 726 B1 and EP 2 018 933 B1, (both from Fanuc), EP 2 062 676 A1 and EP 2 062 679 A1 (both from the applicant) and DE 4 317 384 A1, DE 41 29 278 A1, DE 19 628 857 A1, US 6 204 473 B1, FR 2 923 168 A1 and US 6 204 473 B1.

    [0009] The drawback of such embodiments is that the compensation means require a lot of space and the drive means "puff out" the laser beam machining head and, as a result of their integration in the walls of the laser beam machining head, are not accessible for maintenance and repair works.

    [0010] Furthermore, US 5,815,626 A discloses an optical transmission device for transmitting a laser beam, comprising an optical fibre with an graded index optical fibre, wherein a refraction index at a centre and at a peripheral section of said core of said optical fibre are different. Furthermore, the device comprises an optical fibre incident system having a smallest focussed point at an incident side plane in said optical fibre through which the laser beam being introduced into said optical fibre or near said incident side plane of said optical fibre.

    [0011] Moreover, JP 2001-129679 discloses an optical system, wherein the intensity distribution of an incident laser beam on an aspherical lens is converted through the aspherical lens arranged on the axis of the laser beam produced from the laser beam generator into such an intensity distribution that the energy intensity is skewed toward the circumferential area.

    [0012] In addition, JP 2002-283085 discloses an aspherical lens at the outside of a resonator of a laser oscillator, wherein the curvature element of the aspherical lens is a sum of a convergent curvature element, which is uniform on the whole plane, and a divergent curvature element, which is proportional to the distribution of the beam intensity at the lens position. Moreover, the arrangement comprises a beam transmitting optical system, which is provided for guiding the laser beam transmitted from the aspherical lens to the machining point and copies the focal point position corresponding to the convergent spherical curvature element of the aspherical lens onto the machining point.

    [0013] JP 2006-035247 discloses an optical system with an emitting part for emitting a laser beam around the optical axis centre and an aspherical lens arranged around the optical axis centre in front of the watt class one-chip semiconductor laser. An F value is varied by changing a distance from the emitting part to the focal position of the aspherical lens and a distance from the focal position of the aspherical lens to a light collecting part. Using the aspherical lens makes the shape of the laser beam deformable in a desired shape so as to improve soldering efficiency.
    JP 07132390 discloses a laser beam machining device according to the preamble of claim 1.

    [0014] The solutions disclosed in the prior art are partly structured in a very technically complex manner. This raises the cost of a laser beam machining device and also makes it susceptible to failure. Moreover, despite their complexity, these machines suffer from poor flexibility.

    [0015] The problem addressed by the present invention is to provide an improved laser beam machining device. In particular, the flexibility of a laser beam machining device shall be improved although the complexity of such devices shall be kept low.

    [0016] In accordance with the invention this problem is solved by a laser beam machining device according to claim 1.

    [0017] In accordance with the invention this problem is furthermore solved by a usage of a laser beam machining device according to claim 15.

    [0018] According to the invention, the convergence of the laser beam exiting from the lens and therefore both the focus position and also the depth of focus of the process beam can be altered. Shorter distances lead to a weakly convergent beam with a relatively large focal spot but also a relatively large depth of focus. Conversely, longer distances lead to a relatively small focal spot with a small depth of focus.

    [0019] This affords a big advantage compared to the prior art. In the machining heads for laser beam machining which are commercially available nowadays, in particular for cutting using fibre lasers, there is the specific restriction that the depth of focus of the focussed beam is generally less than 2 mm. This means that, in the case of workpieces of small thickness, high power densities and thus high feed rates can be achieved. However, in the case of workpieces of greater thickness from 4 mm, the focus point tolerances are low and the curve of the beam radius is no longer adapted to the workpiece dimension. The power densities and the feed rate thus decrease or have to be offset by higher laser powers. However, a higher laser power does not solve the problem of a relatively wide and "ugly" kerf and involves a considerable increase in cost.

    [0020] The invention now allows lateral and axial magnification in the focal area of the process beam with the aid of axial displacement shafts with an individual lens for diffractive optimisation of the image. The beam geometry can thus be adapted continuously to the workpiece dimension without having to alter the beam quality or replace the process fibre. The invention thus offers not only a particularly simple structure of a laser machine, but also matches the laser power to the thickness of the workpiece to be machined.

    [0021] Because a distance between the lens and the machining point of the workpiece (in particular a process beam exit point, and/or a distance between the light exit point and the aforementioned machining point) can be varied, the focus can be set independently of the adjustment of the depth of focus. For example, the end of a laser exit nozzle (for example a cutting nozzle) can be understood to be a process beam exit point, that is to say the last point of the laser beam which still lies inside the laser beam machining device. In this specific variation, the process beam exit point can be kept at a constant distance from the workpiece since the lens and/or light exit point are displaced inside the laser beam machining device, for example in a machining head thereof.

    [0022] In particular, the laser light is guided directly onto the machining point, that is to say without intermediate positioning of further beam-shaping elements.

    [0023] In accordance with the invention, inter alia the structure of a laser beam machining device is simplified considerably. The device can thus be produced in a more cost-effective manner and is also less susceptible to technical faults. In-depth tests have surprisingly shown that it may be sufficient for a single lens to influence the laser beam in order to prepare said beam for the material processing.

    [0024] It is advantageous if an end of an optical fibre or a diode laser is provided as a light exit point. For example, the light of a CO2 laser, an Nd:YAG laser or a diode laser can be guided towards the lens using an optical fibre. However, it is also conceivable for the light exit point to be formed by the end of a fibre laser. It would also be possible for the light exit point to be formed directly by a relatively advantageous diode laser.

    [0025] For the sake of completeness, it is noted that the laser beam machining device naturally can comprise more than a single lens in total, for example for coupling the laser light into an optical fibre or for other optical systems.

    [0026] Further advantageous embodiments and developments of the invention will emerge from the dependent claims as well as from the description in conjunction with the drawings.

    [0027] It is advantageous if the lens is aspherical. The laser beam can thus easily be prepared for material processing.

    [0028] It is advantageous, if the moving range of the lens/of the light exit point is limited by the area illuminated by the laser beam being in a range from 25% to 100% of the lens area. In this way, effects caused by partial illumination of said lens, such as lens curvature, thermal lens and in the end collapse of the lens due to thermal overload may be avoided.

    [0029] It is also advantageous, if the Strehl ratio is greater than 0.9 over the moving range of the lens/of the light exit point. The Strehl ratio (named by the physicist and mathematician Karl Strehl) is a measure of the optical quality of optical devices. It is defined as the ratio of the maximum intensity of a point source in the image plane to the theoretical maximum intensity of perfect optical system. By keeping the Strehl ratio above 0.9 over the moving range/magnification range of the beam machining device, high quality cuttings can be obtained.

    [0030] It is particularly advantageous if the aspheric surfaces of said lens are shaped with an even asphericity. The asphericity usually is given by a formula defining the spherical curvature plus a polynomial. According to this variant of the beam machining device, said polynomial just comprises even terms, i.e. a2 * x2 + a4 * x4 + ... The even asphericity is beneficial for an axially symmetric beam exit. In particular it may be defined in such a way that a Strehl ratio nearby 1 is provided in case of short focal distances because the aberrations tend to be relatively high there. By defining the asphericity in the way described above aberrations may be kept low over the whole moving range of the lens.

    [0031] It is also advantageous if the light exit point is arranged in relation to the lens in such a way that the unfocussed laser light contacts the lens directly. This variation of the invention is particularly simple in structure since only a single lens is arranged between the light exit point and the machining point, and in one specific embodiment of the invention only this lens alone is arranged as a single beam-shaping element.

    [0032] A laser beam machining device which comprises a drive system designed to displace the light exit point and the lens synchronously over the same distance in relation to the machining point, in particular in relation to a process beam exit point of the laser beam machining device, is particularly advantageous. In this case merely the distance between the optical arrangement and the workpiece is thus altered, but without affecting the depth of focus of the laser beam.

    [0033] As a most simple alternative the laser beam machining device comprises a drive system designed to displace the lens in a small range. In this setup only the focus position relative to the exit point can be varied while the depth of focus remains nearly constant.

    [0034] In this regard it is particularly advantageous if the laser beam machining device has a first drive system for the joint displacement of the lens and the laser beam machining point, and a second drive system for changing the distance between the lens and the laser beam machining point. However, a drive system for the lens and a further drive system for the light exit point are also conceivable.

    [0035] It is advantageous if said lens is made of ZnS (zinc sulphide). Lenses made of ZnS provide better thermal conduction and a higher refractive index compared to common glass lenses.

    [0036] It is also advantageous if said lens and/or its holder is fluid cooled. In this way, the lens and/or its holder stays in shape even in case of high thermal loads caused by absorption of high power laser light. A fluid may be a liquid or gaseous medium.

    [0037] It is furthermore advantageous if a transparent disc, in particular a glass disc or a plastics material disc, is arranged after the lens in the direction of radiation. The lens can thus easily be protected against weld and cut spatters as well as against smoke. The transparent disc is not provided for beam shaping, but is basically planar. It can therefore be replaced in a cost-effective manner.

    [0038] It is particularly advantageous if a space is provided between the transparent disc and the lens, and the lens and/or the light exit point can be moved by introducing a fluid into this space and extracting it therefrom. In this variation of the invention the lens and/or the light exit point can thus be displaced by a pneumatic or hydraulic drive system. If the light exit point is held steady, the distance between the lens and the light exit point can thus be changed. If, by contrast, the lens and the light exit point are displaceable and the volume between the two is kept constant, the lens and the light exit point can thus be displaced synchronously by introducing a fluid into the space between the transparent disc and the lens or extracting it therefrom. For example the process gas, which is often provided in any case for laser cutting and laser welding, can also be used for the aforementioned adjustment.

    [0039] It is advantageous if a space is provided in a pressure-tight manner between the light exit point and the lens, and the lens and/or the light exit point can be displaced by introducing a fluid into this space or extracting it therefrom. Similarly to the aforementioned variations, the lens and/or the light exit point can be adjusted hydraulically or pneumatically. The distance between the lens and the light exit point is changed.

    [0040] Furthermore, it is advantageous if a space is provided in a pressure-tight manner before the light exit point in the direction of radiation and the light exit point is displaceable by introducing a fluid into this space or extracting it therefrom. In this variation of the invention, the lens and/or the light exit point can again be displaced by a pneumatic or hydraulic drive system. If the lens is held steady, the distance between the lens and the light exit point can thus be changed. If, by contrast, the lens and the light exit point are displaceable and the volume between the two is kept constant, the lens and the light exit point can thus be displaced synchronously by introducing a fluid into the gap before the light exit point or extracting it therefrom. For example a process gas, which is often provided in any case for laser cutting and laser welding, can again be used for the aforementioned adjustment.

    [0041] It is advantageous if a light-sensitive sensor is arranged in the region of a stray light cone of the lens. The beam properties and/or properties of the lens can thus be determined without having to introduce a sensor into the high-energy laser beam for this purpose and without having to couple out some of this beam and guide it onto a sensor. The stray light, which is not actually used for laser beam machining, can thus still advantageously be utilised.

    [0042] In this regard it is particularly advantageous if the laser beam machining device according to the invention comprises an evaluation unit which is connected to the sensor and is designed to carry out the following steps:
    • detect an actual curve of the luminous intensity measured by the sensor during a movement of the light exit point and/or of the lens,
    • compare this actual curve of a used lens with a setpoint curve of an ideal lens and trigger an alarm if the deviation between the setpoint curve and the actual curve exceeds a predefinable threshold.


    [0043] In this variation the stray light cone is moved over the sensor, which detects this curve of luminous intensity over the cross-section of the stray light cone. This makes it possible to draw a conclusion as to the beam properties, but in particular also as to the properties of the lens. For example, depressions and bumps on the lens, for example caused by weld spatters and deposits, lead to an irregular actual curve. If this deviates too strongly from a setpoint curve of an ideal lens, this is a strong indication of the fact that the lens has become unusable.

    [0044] It is advantageous if the full exit angle of the unfocussed laser light at the light exit point is less than 90°, in particular less than 60° and better still less than 45°. Light sources can thus be used in which no excessively high demands are placed on the quality of the exiting beam. The laser beam machining device can therefore be produced in a cost-effective manner.

    [0045] It is lastly advantageous if the laser beam machining device comprises a machining head in which the light exit point and the lens are arranged. The machining head forms each part which is arranged at the end of the kinematic drive system and from which the laser beam exits. If the aforementioned components are incorporated in the machining head, a machining head is formed which is particularly more technically simple and therefore less susceptible to failure.

    [0046] The above embodiments and developments of the invention can be combined in any manner.

    [0047] The present invention will be described in greater detail hereinafter with reference to the embodiments illustrated in the schematic figures of the drawings, in which:
    Fig. 1
    is a schematic view of the laser beam machining device according to the invention;
    Fig. 2
    is a schematic view showing how the laser beam is guided to workpieces of different thickness using the arrangement according to the invention;
    Fig. 3
    is a schematic view of the arrangement according to the invention, in which a sensor is arranged in the stray light cone;
    Fig. 4
    shows an example of an intensity curve recorded by the sensor from Fig. 3;
    Fig. 5
    shows a variation of the invention, in which the lens and the light exit point can be adjusted pneumatically or hydraulically;
    Fig. 6
    shows a gas cooling system for a lens.


    [0048] In the figures, unless stated otherwise, like and similar parts are denoted by like reference numerals, and functionally like elements and features are also denoted by like reference numerals.

    [0049] Fig. 1 shows an exemplary laser beam machining device 1, for example which comprises a diode laser 2, an optical fibre 3, a machining head 4, a gantry slide 5 and rails 6, and machines a workpiece 7.

    [0050] The laser beam machining device 1 illustrated in Fig. 1 functions as follows:

    [0051] The machining head 4 can be moved in a manner known per se along the gantry slide 5 in the direction x, and said gantry slide can in turn be moved along the rails 6 in the direction y so that the machining head 4 can carry out any movement in the x-y plane. With the aid of the diode laser 2, laser light is generated which is guided to the machining head 4 by means of an optical fibre, where it is then directed onto the workpiece 7. The laser beam A then contacts the workpiece 7 at the machining point. During the movement of the machining head 4, the workpiece 7 is then cut along the path travelled by the machining head 4, thus producing a kerf.

    [0052] Fig. 2 shows a schematic view of a detail from the machining head 4, specifically the end of the optical fibre 3, which forms a light exit point B, and a lens 8. The laser beam machining device 1 thus comprises a light exit point or outlet B, which emits unfocussed laser light A, as well as a single lens 8, which focuses the laser light A and guides it onto a machining point of the workpiece 7. In this specific example, the exit angle α from the light exit point B is 90°. The light exit point B is arranged in relation to the lens 8 in such a way that the unfocussed laser light A contacts the lens 8 directly. Furthermore, it is assumed in the example that the lens 8 is aspherical, however the use of a plano-convex lens for example is also possible.

    [0053] The aspherical lens prefrably consists of ZnS, plastics material or an optical glass (for example fused silica, Suprasil). The lens 8 is advantageously water-cooled, in particular at a laser power of more than 2kW. There is preferably also compressive force compensation on the incident side of the lens 8.

    [0054] As illustrated in Fig. 2, the light exit point B may be formed by an end of an optical fibre 3, in particular the end of a fibre laser. However, it is also conceivable for the light exit point B to be formed by a diode laser (not shown), which is preferably arranged directly in or over the machining head 4 of the laser beam machining device 1.

    [0055] In a specific test a multimode step-index fibre was used which has a numerical aperture NA > 0.08 and generates a multimode beam with the beam propagation factor (describes the focussability of lasers in accordance with ISO standard 11146) M2 >= 2. The laser beam A coupling out from the fibre was focussed by a single aspherical lens 8, wherein this image was optimised in terms of diffraction. Of course, these figures are to be considered as purely illustrative. Other values may also lead to satisfactory results.

    [0056] The left-hand image shows the optical fibre 3 and the light exit point B and the lens 8 during machining of a thick workpiece 7a, while the right-hand image shows machining of a thin workpiece 7b.

    [0057] In a particularly advantageous embodiment of the invention the light exit point B and the lens 8 are displaced in such a way that a relatively weakly converging beam is directed onto the thick workpiece 7a during machining thereof. A relatively large focal spot of diameter da is indeed thus selected, although owing to the weak convergence of the beam a large depth of focus thereof is produced, which is advantageous for machining thick workpieces 7a.

    [0058] Conversely, when machining the thin workpiece 7b, the light exit point B and the lens 8 are set in such a way that a relatively strongly converging beam is directed onto the workpiece 7b. Owing to the strong convergence of the beam a small depth of focus thereof is indeed produced, although only a relatively small focal spot of diameter db is produced, which is advantageous for machining thin workpieces 7b.

    [0059] The distance ma, mb between the lens 8 and the light exit point B and the distance la, lb between the lens 8 and the machining point of the workpiece 7 and/or the distance between the light exit point B and the aforementioned machining point can thus be varied.

    [0060] In a particularly advantageous embodiment, the laser beam machining device 1 according to the invention also comprises a drive system which is designed to displace the light exit point B and the lens 8 synchronously over the same distance in relation to the machining point. For example, the laser beam machining device 1 may comprise two linear movement shafts/linear motors 19, 20 parallel to the axis of radiation. Both linear movement shafts/linear motors 19, 20 are fixed to a lens holder on their lower end in this example. The first shaft/linear motor 19 additionally is fixed to a support of the laser machining apparatus, e. g. a part of the laser machining apparatus, which stays in a more or less constant distance to the work piece 7. The first shaft/linear motor 19 thus moves the light exit point B together with the lens 8 and changes the working distance la, lb.

    [0061] The second shaft/linear motor 20 is fixed to the lens holder on its lower end and to a fibre holder on its upper end. The second shaft/linear motor 20 thus changes the distance ma, mb between the light exit point B and the lens 8, whereby both the focus position and the depth of focus of the laser beam A are changed.

    [0062] If the distance ma, mb between the light exit point B and the lens 8 is shortened, the working distance la, lb, depth of focus and focus radius are thus increased. The second shaft/second linear motor 20 therefore has to compensate for the greater working distance la, lb so that the focus again lies in the workpiece 7.

    [0063] In this example the linear movement shafts/linear motors 19, 20 may be embodied as pneumatic or hydraulic cylinders or as electric spindle drives for example. However, other kinds of linear motors are applicable as well such as synchronous or asynchronous linear motors or gear rod drives.

    [0064] In addition it has to be noted, that the linear movement shafts/linear motors 19, 20 may be arranged in a different way. For example the first shaft/linear motor 19 can be arranged between the fixed machine support and the fibre holder, whereas the second shaft/linear motor 20 again is fixed to the lens holder on its lower end and to a fibre holder on its upper end. Furthermore it is possible that the first shaft/linear motor 19 is arranged between the fixed machine support and the lens holder and the second shaft/linear motor 20 is arranged between the fixed machine support and the fibre holder.

    [0065] The invention aims to produce the imaging (focusing), for example of a fibre laser beam, through a single lens 8 (singlet lens, preferably ZnS) displaceable in the z direction, wherein each change to the working distance la, lb for the purpose of obtaining the desired focus position is compensated for by a mechanical device. The imaging is optimised in terms of diffraction over the movement area of the lens 8 and achieves a lateral and longitudinal magnification area of the fibre core illuminated by the laser beam A. In the imaged (focussed) beam A, a super-Gaussian distributed intensity is thus to be achieved with maximum depth of focus.

    [0066] In a variation of the invention, it is possible to dispense with a protecting glass owing to the large distance to the workpiece. In this regard, the integration of a 90° beam deflection is advantageous with particularly large working distances.

    [0067] It is advantageous, if the moving range of the lens 8/of the light exit point B is limited by the area illuminated by the laser beam A being in a range from 25% to 100% of the lens area. In this way effects caused by partial illumination of said lens 8, such as lens curvature, thermal lens and in the end collapse of the lens 8 due to thermal overload may be avoided. It is also advantageous, if the Strehl ratio is greater than 0,9 over said moving range so as to high quality cuttings. It is also particularly advantageous if the aspheric surfaces of said lens are shaped with an even asphericity so as to keep aberrations low.

    [0068] Two specific case examples will be detailed hereinafter which were calculated using a software for designing optical systems (for example ZEMAX):

    Case example 1:
    50µm process fibre, aspherical lens made of ZnS, planar incident side, convex exit side with a radius of curvature of 90mm, aspherical corrections 4th and 6th order.

    1. a) small focus: working distance approximately 290mm, fibre end/lens distance 90mm, resultant focus radius approximately 54µm, Rayleigh length (depth of focus) approximately 1.4mm.
    2. b) large focus: working distance approximately 780mm, fibre end/lens distance 75mm, resultant focus radius approximately 177µm, Rayleigh length (depth of focus) approximately 15mm.

    Case example 2:
    50µm process fibre, aspherical lens made of ZnS, planar incident side, convex exit side with a radius of curvature of 60mm, aspherical corrections 4th order.

    1. a) small focus: working distance approximately 150mm, fibre end/lens distance 65mm, resultant focus radius approximately 38µm, Rayleigh length (depth of focus) approximately 0.7mm.
    2. b) large focus: working distance approximately 465mm, fibre end/lens distance 50mm, resultant focus radius approximately 158µm, Rayleigh length (depth of focus) approximately 12mm.



    [0069] Fig. 3 now shows a further variation of the invention. A light-sensitive sensor 9 is arranged in the area of a scattered light cone C of the lens 8.

    [0070] With a displaceable lens 8, in particular with such a lens made of multispectral ZnS, a scattered radiation is produced with the transmission of the laser beam A through the substrate and is emitted in a cone C about the process beam. The scattered output and the scattering angle are dependent both on the scatter process in the lens substrate and on the shape of the beam exit side of the lens 8.

    [0071] By displacing the light exit point B and/or the lens 8, the scattered light cone C can now be displaced in relation to the (fixed) sensor 9 so that said sensor can detect an intensity curve over the cross-section of the scattered light cone C (of course the sensor 9 could also be displaceable, however). Fig. 4 shows such an exemplary curve for the lens 8, wherein the lens intensity I is shown over the path of displacement s of the light exit point B and/or of the lens 8. The displacement position s1 denotes the position illustrated in the right-hand image of Fig. 3, while s2 denotes the position illustrated in the left-hand image of Fig. 3. In addition to the continuous curve for the ideal lens 8, a dashed curve for a lens 8' which is not ideal is also illustrated. For example, this is contaminated and/or deformed by the spatter from the workpiece 7. A curve deviating from the ideal curve is accordingly given for the light intensity I and, as illustrated, may also exhibit indentations.

    [0072] An evaluation unit 21 is now connected to the sensor 9 and is designed to carry out the following steps:
    • detect an actual curve of the luminous intensity I measured by the sensor 9 during a movement of the light exit point B and/or of the lens 8,
    • compare this actual curve of a used lens 8' with a setpoint curve of an ideal lens 8 and trigger an alarm if the deviation between the setpoint curve and the actual curve exceeds a predefinable threshold.


    [0073] A lens 8' rendered unusable owing to excessive contamination or for other reasons can thus be identified and replaced.

    [0074] This variation of the invention aims, for example when imaging a fibre laser beam through a single lens 8 (singlet lens, preferably ZnS) which is displaceable in the z direction, to monitor the lens 8 with the aid of its scattered light properties and the birefringence-induced second harmonics generation (weak output in the green spectrum range) over the service life of the lens. For this purpose the arrangement is selected in such a way that the edge of the scattered light cone C passes through the sensor 9 when the lens 8 moves. The intensity curve of the scattered light over the path of movement in the z direction carries the information regarding the actual state of the lens 8 in relation to the curve when new. Further, a distinction can thus be made between a scattered light signal and a process light signal.

    [0075] The coating for dereflecting the lens 8 in the laser wavelength is partly reflective on the lower lens side for the wavelength of the second harmonics. Information regarding the optical state can be read from the detection of the intensity of the reflected light of the second harmonics along the path of movement in the z direction of the lens 8.

    [0076] With a linearly displaceable lens 8 and a sensor 9 arranged in the beam path, the curve of the scattered light signal can be recorded as described since the boundary of the scattered light cone passes over the sensor 9. If the process beam contacting the lens 8 is kept constant, changes to the lens 8 can be read from the scattered light signal thus recorded.

    [0077] Alternatively, in particular with use of multispectral ZnS as a lens substrate, the generated second harmonics can be used to detect the state of the lens. Because the lens 8 dereflects in the case of the process beam wavelength, the light of the second harmonics at half wavelength of the laser beam A is only reflected in part on the surface of the lens. The proportion of exiting light of the second harmonics can also be detected and used to analyse the state of the lens.

    [0078] To intensify the detection signal of the second harmonic, moreover the upper coating may be weakly partly reflective and the lower coating highly reflective for the second harmonic. Thus, the light of the second harmonic preferably is reflected upwards. However, the coatings may be attached to the lens 8 in reversed order, so that light of the second harmonic is reflected downwards. Because ZnS deflects laser light downwards, two signals may be obtained from the lens 8 at the same time, if sensors 9 of different spectral sensitivity or filters are used. Thus, the lens 8 sends two signals downwards and one signal upwards in total, which may be fed to sensors 9 and used for detecting the quality of the lens 8.

    [0079] With a constant distance between the light exit point B and the lens 8, both are advantageously moved by the stroke s while the position of the sensor 9 remains the same. The sensor signal I(s) is the response function of the lens 8 in the scattered light, which is different with different states of the optical system.

    [0080] The evaluation unit 21 comprises a central processing unit 22 and a memory 23 in this example. The central processing unit 22 is connected to the sensor 9 to get the actual curve of the luminous intensity I and to compare it with the setpoint curve of an ideal lens 8 stored in the memory 23. If the deviation between the setpoint curve and the actual curve exceeds a predefinable threshold, the alarm lamp 24 is activated in this example. The central processing unit 22 and the memory 23 may be discrete parts on a printed circuit board. However, the central processing unit 22 and the memory 23 may be integrated in a single device, e.g. in a microcontroller. Furthermore the evaluation unit 21 may be embodied as an application specific integrated circuit (ASIC). Of course the alarming device may be embodied in a different way, e.g. as a loudspeaker.

    [0081] Fig. 5 now shows a further variation of the invention. The machining head 4 of the laser beam machining device 1 is basically formed by a tube 10 which is closed at the lower end in a pressure-tight manner by a transparent disc, in this case by a glass disc 11. The displaceable lens 8 is located above. The glass disc 11 is thus arranged after the lens 8 in the direction of radiation. A displaceable piston 12 is arranged above the lens 8, to which piston the end of the optical fibre 3 is fixed. This is ultimately guided in a pressure-tight manner through a cover 13.

    [0082] The following is thus provided:
    • a pressure-tight space between the glass disc 11 and the lens 8, whereby the lens 8 and/or the light exit point B can be displaced by introducing a fluid into this space or extracting it therefrom,
    • a pressure-tight space between the light exit point B and the lens 8, whereby the lens 8 and/or the light exit point B can be displaced by introducing a fluid into this space or extracting it therefrom, and
    • a pressure-tight space before the light exit point B in the direction of radiation, whereby the lens 8 and/or the light exit point B can be displaced by introducing a fluid into this space or extracting it therefrom.


    [0083] In order to control the positions of the lens 8 and the light exit point B, the arrangement comprises three controllable valves 14, 15, 16, which are pressurised with the pressure p. These valves 14, 15, 16 are controlled by an electronic control system 17. For the sake of simplicity, air relief valves have been omitted in the example illustrated.

    [0084] In this example it is assumed that the process gas is used as gas for adjusting the light exit point B and the lens 8, which process gas is also used for cutting or welding. For this purpose a gas nozzle 18 is also supplied with the gas. However, it would also be conceivable to use two different media for the valves 14, 15, 16 and the gas nozzle 18, or to dispense completely with the gas nozzle 18.

    [0085] If, for example, the valve 14 is now opened and the space between the light exit point B and the lens 8 is deaerated/depressurized (subjected to pressure reduction), the distance between the light exit point B and the lens 8 will thus be reduced. If, instead, the space between the lens 8 and the glass disc 11 is deaerated, the light exit point B and the lens 8 will thus be moved synchronously along the same path. Similarly, the valves 15 and 16 may also be used to displace the lens 8 and/or the light exit point B. However, Fig. 5 shall just demonstrate the possibilities to adjust a laser beam machining device by means of fluids. Of course any kind of fluid, that means gaseous and liquid fluids, may be used to adjust the machining device by applying positive or negative pressures. In an advantageous embodiment the fluid used for adjusting the machining device is also used as a coolant, e.g. for the lens 8.

    [0086] Fig. 5 is of course provided merely to illustrate in principle how the light exit point B and the lens 8 may be displaced with the aid of a fluid, which may be liquid or gaseous. For this purpose, many constructional embodiments are conceivable which implement this principle and lie within the scope of routine considerations of a person skilled in the art. It is particularly advantageous if a process gas, which is pressurised in any case and which is required for cutting or welding, is used as a fluid and thus performs a dual function. In particular it is conceivable for the disc 11, which is planar on either side, to be arranged directly after the lens and to be displaceable together with the lens 8. The thermomechanical loading of the disc member by absorption of the laser light thus remains practically unchanged and minimal at high laser powers at any distances ma, mb, la, lb.

    [0087] It is also conceivable that individual chambers are not filled and deaerated with the aid of a valve, but instead are closed in a self-contained manner and thus form a gas pressure spring. For example, if the valve 16 is omitted, the lens 8 can thus be pressed downwards against the resistance of the gas pressure spring by increasing the pressure above the lens 8. Of course, other types of spring may also be used, for example helical springs.

    [0088] The specific feature of the embodiment illustrated in Fig. 5 is that the interior of the machining head 4, in which the beam path also extends, is part of the drive means. It is thus used twofold, more specifically for driving and for guiding the laser beam. In other words, the laser beam passes through the drive fluid(s). In the embodiment the fluid(s) act directly, from both sides, on the lens 8 or the lens support and on the laser exit point or on the piston 12 maintaining the laser exit point. The drive fluids therefore take on a number of functions: driving, cleaning and cooling of the lens and the other components.

    [0089] Instead of a common pressure line which is pressurised with the pressure p, it is also possible to pressurise each of the separate spaces or chambers between the transparent disc 11 and the lens 8, between the lens 8 and the piston 12 and between the piston 12 and the cover 13 with a variably adjustable pressure via separate pressure lines in each case. Greater versatility and greater accuracy can thus be achieved when moving the system components, specifically the sole movement of the lens, the sole movement of the laser exit point or the joint movement of the lens and laser exit point. The pressure differences between the fluids in the individual spaces, which fluids move the system components, can be set and adjusted precisely. If necessary, the individual spaces can also be charged with different gases by separate gas feeds.

    [0090] Compared to the prior art, substantial simplifications, in particular a saving in space, longer service life and simple maintenance are produced by the type of drive. In addition, no complicated compensation means which require a pressure compensation are necessary, particularly since the spaces according to the invention are sealed relative to one another and to the outside environment and in any case can be pressurised or finely adjusted by fluid pressure (for example gas or liquid) as desired.

    [0091] Fig. 6 finally shows an exemplary gas cooling system for a lens 8, in particular for a lens 8 made of ZnS. As can be seen in Fig. 6 cooling gas or air flows through a plurality of radial ducts 25 and is directed onto the bottom side of the lens 8. Thus, an efficient cooling of the lens 8 can be provided. Advantageously the gas - after it has cooled the lens 8 - is also used for the cutting or welding process performed by the laser.

    [0092] It is lastly noted that the variations illustrated only represent some of the many possibilities for the laser beam machining device 1 according to the invention, and should not be drawn upon to limit the field of application of the invention. A person skilled in the art may adapt the present invention to his requirements on the basis of the considerations described herein, without departing from the claimed scope of protection of the invention.

    [0093] In particular the laser beam machining device 1 presented is not only adapted for laser cutting, but also for laser welding.

    [0094] Of course, the invention is also not limited to portal robots as illustrated in Fig. 1, but can also be applied to industrial robots which generally allow movement in all six degrees of freedom. Since, in such case, a machining head mounted on the robot arm can be moved away from the workpiece 7 "by default", it is possible to dispense with a specific adjustment for joint movement of the light exit point B and the lens 8 in the machining head 4.

    [0095] Furthermore, it is noted that the figures of drawings are sometimes not to scale and are also rather simplified. An actual constructed laser beam machining device 1 may therefore contain more components than illustrated and can thus be constructed in a much more complex manner than is illustrated in the figures.

    List of reference labels



    [0096] 
    1
    laser beam machining device
    2
    diode laser
    3
    optical fibre
    4
    machining head
    5
    gantry slide
    6
    rail
    7
    workpiece
    8
    lens (ideal)
    8'
    damaged lens
    9
    sensor
    10
    tube
    11
    glass disc
    12
    piston for optical fibre
    13
    cover
    14, 15, 16
    control valve
    17
    control system
    18
    gas nozzle
    19
    first linear movement shaft/first linear motor
    20
    second linear movement shaft/ second linear motor
    21
    evaluation unit
    22
    central processing unit
    23
    memory
    24
    signal lamp
    25
    duct
    A
    laser beam
    B
    light exit point
    C
    scattered light cone
    α
    exit angle
    da, db
    diameter of the focal spot
    I
    luminous intensity
    la, lb
    workpiece/lens distance
    ma, mb
    lens/light exit point distance
    s
    path of displacement
    s1, s2
    displacement positions
    x, y, z
    coordinates



    Claims

    1. A laser beam machining device (1) comprising a light exit point (B), which is provided for emitting unfocussed laser light (A), and a single lens (8) after the light exit point (B) in the direction of radiation, which focuses the laser light (A) and is designed to guide the focussed laser light (A) onto a machining point of a workpiece (7), wherein the single lens (8) is movable in said direction of radiation, and a distance (la, lb) between the lens (8) and the machining point of the workpiece (7) is variable, characterised in that the light exit point (B) is movable, and a distance (ma, mb) between the lens (8) and the light exit point (B) and a distance between the light exit point (B) and the aforementioned machining point are variable.
     
    2. The laser beam machining device (1) according to claim 1, characterised in that the lens (8) is aspheric; and/or
    the moving range of said lens (8)/the light exit point (B) is limited by the area illuminated by the laser light (A) being in a range from 25% to 100% of the lens area.
     
    3. The laser beam machining device (1) according to claim 2, characterised in that the aspheric surfaces of said lens (8) are shaped with an even asphericity.
     
    4. The laser beam machining device (1) according to any one of claims 1 to 3, characterised in that the light exit point (B) is arranged in relation to the lens (8) in such a way that the unfocussed laser light (A) contacts the lens (8) directly.
     
    5. The laser beam machining device (1) according to any one of claims 1 to 4, characterised by a drive system which is designed to displace the light exit point (B) and the lens (8) synchronously by the same distance in relation to the machining point of the workpiece (7).
     
    6. The laser beam machining device (1) according to any one of claims 1 to 5, characterised in that said lens (8) is made of ZnS.
     
    7. The laser beam machining device (1) according to any one of claims 1 to 6, characterised in that said lens (8) and/or its holder is fluid cooled.
     
    8. The laser beam machining device (1) according to any one of claims 1 to 7, characterised in that a transparent disc (11) is arranged after the lens (8) in the direction of radiation, wherein in particular a space between the transparent disc (11) and the lens (8) is pressure-tight and the lens (8) and/or the light exit point (B) can be displaced by introducing a fluid into this space or extracting it therefrom.
     
    9. The laser beam machining device (1) according to any one of claims 1 to 8, characterised in that a space between the light exit point (B) and the lens (8) is pressure-tight and the lens (8) and/or the light exit point (B) can be displaced by introducing a fluid into this space or extracting it therefrom.
     
    10. The laser beam machining device (1) according to any one of claims 1 to 9, characterised in that a space before the light exit point (B) in the direction of radiation is pressure-tight and the lens (8) and/or the light exit point (B) can be displaced by introducing a fluid into this space or extracting it therefrom.
     
    11. The laser beam machining device (1) according to any one of claims 1 to 10, characterised in that a light-sensitive sensor (9) is arranged in the area of a scattered light cone (C) of the lens (8), wherein in particular an evaluation unit (21) connected to the sensor (9) is provided and designed to carry out the following steps:

    - detect an actual curve of the luminous intensity (I) measured by the sensor (9) during a movement of the light exit point (B) and/or of the lens (8),

    - compare this actual curve of a used lens (8') with a setpoint curve of an ideal lens (8) and trigger an alarm if the deviation between the setpoint curve and the actual curve exceeds a predefinable threshold.


     
    12. The laser beam machining device (1) according to any one of claims 1 to 11, characterised in that the exit angle (α) of the unfocussed laser light (A) at the light exit point (B) is less than 45°.
     
    13. The laser beam machining device (1) according to any one of claims 1 to 12, characterised in that an end of an optical fibre (3) or a diode laser is provided as the light exit point (B).
     
    14. The laser beam machining device (1) according to any one of claims 1 to 13, characterised by a machining head (4), in which the light exit point (B) and the lens (8) are arranged.
     
    15. Usage of a laser beam machining device (1) comprising a light exit point (B), which is provided for emitting unfocussed laser light (A), and a single lens (8) after the light exit point (B) in the direction of radiation, which focuses the laser light (A) and is designed to guide the focussed laser light (A) onto a machining point of a workpiece (7), wherein the light exit point (B) and the single lens (8) are movable in said direction of radiation, wherein a distance (ma, mb) between the lens (8) and the light exit point (B) and a distance (la, lb) between the lens (8) and the machining point of the workpiece (7) and a distance between the light exit point (B) and the aforementioned machining point are variable for cutting said workpiece (7).
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Laserstrahlbearbeitungsvorrichtung (1), umfassend einen Lichtaustrittspunkt (B), der zum Emittieren von unfokussiertem Laserlicht (A) bereitgestellt ist, und eine Einzellinse (8) in Strahlungsrichtung nach dem Lichtaustrittspunkt (B), welche das Laserlicht (A) fokussiert und dazu ausgelegt ist, das fokussierte Laserlicht (A) auf einen Bearbeitungspunkt eines Werkstücks (7) zu leiten, wobei die Einzellinse (8) in der genannten Strahlungsrichtung beweglich ist und ein Abstand (la, lb) zwischen der Linse (8) und dem Bearbeitungspunkt des Werkstücks (7) veränderbar ist, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Lichtaustrittspunkt (B) beweglich ist und ein Abstand (ma, mb) zwischen der Linse (8) und dem Lichtaustrittspunkt (B) sowie ein Abstand zwischen dem Lichtaustrittspunkt (B) und dem vorgenannten Bearbeitungspunkt veränderbar sind.
     
    2. Laserstrahlbearbeitungsvorrichtung (1) nach Anspruch 1, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Linse (8) asphärisch ist; und/oder
    der Bewegungsbereich der Linse (8) / des Lichtaustrittspunktes (B) durch die vom Laserlicht (A) beleuchtete Fläche, die in einem Bereich von 25% bis 100% der Linsenfläche liegt, begrenzt ist.
     
    3. Laserstrahlbearbeitungsvorrichtung (1) nach Anspruch 2, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die asphärischen Oberflächen der Linse (8) mit einer gleichmäßigen Asphärizität geformt sind.
     
    4. Laserstrahlbearbeitungsvorrichtung (1) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 3, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Lichtaustrittspunkt (B) derart in Bezug auf die Linse (8) angeordnet ist, dass das unfokussierte Laserlicht (A) die Linse (8) direkt berührt.
     
    5. Laserstrahlbearbeitungsvorrichtung (1) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 4, gekennzeichnet durch ein Antriebssystem, das dazu ausgelegt ist, den Lichtaustrittspunkt (B) und die Linse (8) synchron um den gleichen Abstand in Bezug auf den Bearbeitungspunkt des Werkstücks (7) zu verschieben.
     
    6. Laserstrahlbearbeitungsvorrichtung (1) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 5, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Linse (8) aus ZnS besteht.
     
    7. Laserstrahlbearbeitungsvorrichtung (1) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass die Linse (8) und/oder ihr Halter fluidgekühlt sind.
     
    8. Laserstrahlbearbeitungsvorrichtung (1) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 7, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass eine transparente Scheibe (11) in Strahlungsrichtung nach der Linse (8) angeordnet ist, wobei insbesondere ein Raum zwischen der transparenten Scheibe (11) und der Linse (8) druckdicht ist und die Linse (8) und/oder der Lichtaustrittspunkt (B) verschoben werden können, indem ein Fluid in diesen Raum eingeführt oder daraus entnommen wird.
     
    9. Laserstrahlbearbeitungsvorrichtung (1) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 8, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass ein Raum zwischen dem Lichtaustrittspunkt (B) und der Linse (8) druckdicht ist und die Linse (8) und/oder der Lichtaustrittspunkt (B) verschoben werden können, indem ein Fluid in diesen Raum eingeführt oder daraus entnommen wird.
     
    10. Laserstrahlbearbeitungsvorrichtung (1) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 9, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass ein Raum in Strahlungsrichtung vor dem Lichtaustrittspunkt (B) druckdicht ist und die Linse (8) und/oder der Lichtaustrittspunkt (B) verschoben werden können, indem ein Fluid in diesen Raum eingeführt oder daraus entnommen wird.
     
    11. Laserstrahlbearbeitungsvorrichtung (1) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 10, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass im Bereich eines Streulichtkegels (C) der Linse (8) ein lichtempfindlicher Sensor (9) angeordnet ist, wobei insbesondere eine mit dem Sensor (9) verbundene Auswerteeinheit (21) dazu bereitgestellt und ausgelegt ist, folgende Schritte durchzuführen:

    - Erfassen einer Istkurve der Lichtstärke (I), die vom Sensor (9) während einer Bewegung des Lichtaustrittspunktes (B) und/oder der Linse (8) gemessen wird,

    - Vergleichen diese Istkurve einer gebrauchten Linse (8') mit einer Sollkurve einer Ideallinse (8) und Auslösen eines Alarms, wenn die Abweichung zwischen Sollkurve und Istkurve eine vorgebbare Schwelle überschreitet.


     
    12. Laserstrahlbearbeitungsvorrichtung (1) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 11, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass der Austrittswinkel (a) des unfokussierten Laserlichts (A) am Lichtaustrittspunkt (B) kleiner als 45° ist.
     
    13. Laserstrahlbearbeitungsvorrichtung (1) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 12, dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass als Lichtaustrittspunkt (B) ein Ende einer Lichtleitfaser (3) oder eines Diodenlasers bereitgestellt ist.
     
    14. Laserstrahlbearbeitungsvorrichtung (1) nach einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 13, gekennzeichnet durch einen Bearbeitungskopf (4), in dem der Lichtaustrittspunkt (B) und die Linse (8) angeordnet sind.
     
    15. Verwendung einer Laserstrahlbearbeitungsvorrichtung (1), die einen Lichtaustrittspunkt (B), der zum Emittieren von unfokussiertem Laserlicht (A) bereitgestellt ist, und eine Einzellinse (8) in Strahlungsrichtung nach dem Lichtaustrittspunkt (B), die das Laserlicht (A) fokussiert und dazu ausgelegt ist, das fokussierte Laserlicht (A) auf einen Bearbeitungspunkt eines Werkstücks (7) zu leiten, umfasst, wobei der Lichtaustrittspunkt (B) und die Einzellinse (8) in der genannten Strahlungsrichtung beweglich sind, wobei ein Abstand (ma, mb) zwischen der Linse (8) und dem Lichtaustrittspunkt (B) und ein Abstand (la, lb) zwischen der Linse (8) und dem Bearbeitungspunkt des Werkstücks (7) und ein Abstand zwischen dem Lichtaustrittspunkt (B) und dem vorgenannten Bearbeitungspunkt zum Schneiden des Werkstücks (7) veränderbar sind.
     


    Revendications

    1. Dispositif d'usinage au faisceau laser (1) comprenant un point de sortie de lumière (B), qui est destiné à émettre une lumière laser non focalisée (A) et une lentille unique (8) après le point de sortie de lumière (B) dans la direction du rayonnement, qui focalise la lumière laser (A) et est conçue pour guider la lumière laser focalisée (A) sur un point d'usinage d'une pièce (7), dans lequel la lentille unique (8) est mobile dans ladite direction du rayonnement et une distance (la ,lb) entre la lentille (8) et le point d'usinage de la pièce (7) est variable, caractérisé en ce que le point de sortie de lumière (B) est mobile et une distance (ma ,mb) entre le la lentille (8) et le point de sortie de lumière (B) et un distance entre le point de sortie de lumière (B) et le point d'usinage précité sont variables.
     
    2. Dispositif d'usinage au faisceau laser (1) selon la revendication 1, caractérisé en ce que la lentille (8) est asphérique ; et/ou
    la plage de déplacement de ladite lentille (8)/le point de sortie de lumière (B) est limitée par la zone éclairée par la lumière laser (A) et se situe dans une plage de 25 % à 100 % de la zone de lentille.
     
    3. Dispositif d'usinage au faisceau laser (1) selon la revendication 2, caractérisé en ce que les surfaces asphériques de ladite lentille (8) ont une forme d'asphéricité uniforme.
     
    4. Dispositif d'usinage au faisceau laser (1) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 3, caractérisé en ce que le point de sortie de lumière (B) est disposé par rapport à la lentille (8) de telle sorte que la lumière laser non focalisée (A) entre directement en contact avec la lentille (8).
     
    5. Dispositif d'usinage au faisceau laser (1) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 4, caractérisé par un système d'entraînement qui est conçu pour déplacer le point de sortie de lumière (B) et la lentille (8) de manière synchrone sur la même distance par rapport au point d'usinage de la pièce (7).
     
    6. Dispositif d'usinage au faisceau laser (1) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 5, caractérisé en ce que ladite lentille (8) est composée de ZnS.
     
    7. Dispositif d'usinage au faisceau laser (1) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 6, caractérisé en ce que ladite lentille (8) et/ou son support est refroidi par fluide.
     
    8. Dispositif d'usinage au faisceau laser (1) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 7, caractérisé en ce qu'un disque transparent (11) est disposé après la lentille (8) dans la direction du rayonnement, dans lequel en particulier un espace entre le disque transparent (11) et la lentille (8) est étanche à la pression et la lentille (8) et/ou le point de sortie de lumière (B) peuvent être déplacés en introduisant un fluide dans cet espace ou en l'extrayant de celui-ci.
     
    9. Dispositif d'usinage au faisceau laser (1) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 8, caractérisé en ce qu'un espace entre le point de sortie de lumière (B) et la lentille (8) est étanche à la pression et en ce que la lentille (8) et/ou le point de sortie de lumière (B) peuvent être déplacés en introduisant un fluide dans cet espace ou en l'extrayant de celui-ci.
     
    10. Dispositif d'usinage au faisceau laser (1) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 9, caractérisé en ce qu'un espace avant le point de sortie de lumière (B) dans la direction du rayonnement est étanche à la pression et la lentille (8) et/ou le point de sortie de lumière (B) peuvent être déplacés en introduisant un fluide dans cet espace ou en l'extrayant de celui-ci.
     
    11. Dispositif d'usinage au faisceau laser (1) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 10, caractérisé en ce qu'un capteur photosensible (9) est disposé dans la zone d'un cône de lumière diffusée (C) de la lentille (8), dans lequel en particulier une unité d'évaluation (21) connectée au capteur (9) est prévue et conçue pour réaliser les étapes suivantes :

    - détecter une courbe réelle de l'intensité lumineuse (l) mesurée par le capteur (9) lors d'un déplacement du point de sortie de lumière (B) et/ou de la lentille (8),

    - comparer cette courbe réelle d'une lentille usagée (8') avec une courbe de consigne d'une lentille idéale (8) et déclencher une alarme si l'écart entre la courbe de consigne et la courbe réelle dépasse un seuil pouvant être prédéfini.


     
    12. Dispositif d'usinage au faisceau laser (1) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 11, caractérisé en ce que l'angle de sortie (a) de la lumière laser non focalisée (A) au point de sortie de lumière (B) est inférieur à 45 °.
     
    13. Dispositif d'usinage au faisceau laser (1) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 12, caractérisé en ce que le point de sortie de lumière (B) est une extrémité d'une fibre optique (3) ou d'un laser à diode.
     
    14. Dispositif d'usinage au faisceau laser (1) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 13, caractérisé par une tête d'usinage (4), dans laquelle sont disposés le point de sortie de lumière (B) et la lentille (8).
     
    15. Utilisation d'un dispositif d'usinage au faisceau laser (1) comprenant un point de sortie de lumière (B), qui est destiné à émettre une lumière laser non focalisée (A) et une lentille unique (8) après le point de sortie de lumière (B) dans la direction du rayonnement, qui focalise la lumière laser (A) et est conçue pour guider la lumière laser focalisée (A) sur un point d'usinage d'une pièce (7), dans lequel le point de sortie de lumière (B) et la lentille unique (8) sont mobiles dans ladite direction du rayonnement, dans lequel une distance (ma, mb) entre la lentille (8) et le point de sortie de lumière (B) et une distance (la ,lb) entre la lentille (8) et le point d'usinage de la pièce (7) et une distance entre le point de sortie de lumière (B) et le point d'usinage susmentionné sont variables pour couper ladite pièce (7).
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



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    Patent documents cited in the description