System Integration: Laser galvo for fast overhead moving beam and high throughout


High Speed Laser Beam Scanning Galvanometers


2-axis and 3-axis, Industrial versus retail plus a few words on Laser Safety


Simply put, a galvanometer, galvo for short, is a mirror on a motorized shaft that twitches to scan a beam. It is therefore a scanner. Laser galvos are famous as supermarket and other point-of-sale barcode scanners, many hundreds of thousands are in use throughout the world.


An industrial laser galvo is just a souped up retail scanner with a high power laser and big mirrors in the galvo. Industrial applications are marking IDs & bar codes, etching images, resistor trimming and patterning.


Industrial lasers are more powerful because they do micromachining. High power requires eye safety precautions. Retail barcode scanners are USA Government classified Class I eye safe lasers without need for shielding because the power is typically only one milliwatt. High power industrial laser machines require shielding to qualify for a Class I rating. Without shielding, they are Class IIIb or IV.




GalvoShown here is a 2-Mirror Laser Galvo for rapid laser beam scanning

A two mirror galvanometer is a 2-axis XY galvo. Actually, it swings the laser focal point in an arc which is flattened in an XY plane with an F-theta lens. The Z-axis is non-adjustable.






Laser writing speeds of meters/sec are possible with a large laser flying spot and a high laser rep rate.


3-axis Laser Galvo

An XYZ or 3-axis galvo substitutes the large F-theta lens with a small lens moving on a linear track along the direction of the beam. This controls the up and down focal point.


Other Issues:

Video (CCTV) viewing of the worksite are worthy issues to discuss relative to moving beam optics (galvo) versus fixed beam. Other issues are speed, accuracy and resolution.


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