Engineering and Industrial Laser Applications
Lasers are used in industry in a huge variety of applications. These applications can be divided between those that involve the processing of materials and all other applications. Materials processing includes cutting, drilling, welding, etc., and generally involves the use of high-powered lasers. The advantages of using lasers in materials processing include: (1) there is no contact tool required, unlike normal machining in which the tool bit must be sharpened and often replaced. (2) brittle or very pliable materials that are very difficult or impossible to machine with tools can be processed using lasers. In fact, one of the first materials processing applications of a laser in the 1960's was to make the holes in rubber baby bottle nipples, a difficult task to do otherwise with drilling. (3) using fiber optics, access to previously inaccessible locations is available. (4) laser processing is easily automated to allow computer and robot control. (5) new types of processing has and continues to be developed, including producing new surface alloys and hardening of materials.
Also, Micro material processing is a category that includes all laser material processing applications under 1 kilowatt. The use of lasers in Micro Materials Processing has found broad application in the development and manufacturing of screens for smartphones, tablet computers, and LED TVs.
In addition to these applications, we can use the laser beam as a straight line tool and those involving inspection and scanning applications. Straight line applications include those in the construction industry for surveying and building. The simplest application of a laser is its use in "snapping a straight line" or in defining a horizontal plane in construction, whether it is new homes, tunnels, bridges, etc.