LIA Corporate Member Laserline Inc. is a leading manufacturer of high-power diode lasers up to 12 kW. The products are used in a wide range of industrial applications such as cladding, heat treatment, brazing and welding, and as solid-state and fiber laser pump sources.
Founded in 1997, Laserline is headquartered in Muelheim- Kaerlich, Germany, with a subsidiary in Santa Clara, Calif. Currently the company has 75 employees in Germany, the U.S. and Japan. The founders and owners are Volker Krause and Dr. Christoph Ullmann.
The company was founded with the mission being to strive for customer satisfaction through technical excellence, thus reaching new markets and applications with leading edge high-power diode technology.
“One of our first applications was a cladding head integrated into a high-speed milling machine. The resulting system was used for rapid prototyping, where the laser was used to add material, and the mill was used to get the material to net shape. One of our most exciting early applications was a plastic welding machine consisting of about 100 independent laser heads, quite an ambitious product for a young company!” explained Silke Pflueger, director of marketing and sales with Laserline.
Laserline’s R&D department at the company headquarters in Germany consists of 15 people that are driving the development of new products such as the 4 kW welding laser, offering the same beam quality as lamp-pumped YAGs.
“This is something we could only dream about when we started in 1997,” said Pflueger. “We hold about 20 patents protecting our intellectual property.”
Company Products, Growth
Today, Laserline focuses its attentions mostly on the automotive industry, using its industrial LDF series lasers.
“Several manufacturers use our lasers for brazing and welding in body-in-white manufacturing. Heat treatment and cladding are mainly used to build and refurbish tools and dies,” she explained.
“While our first laser was used for cladding, it wasn’t a very important segment in the early years. However, in the last five years that application has picked up tremendously, with the main applications being in the oil industry, and in repair work for turbines, using lasers from 1 kW to 10 kW.
Laserline has also responded to the industry’s needs and provided practical solutions through product introductions and innovations.
“Most of our early lasers were direct diodes, using the diode stack with beam shaping optics in the machine. That is not only impractical because you expose the laser head to motion and less than clean environments, but we also realized that our competition are fiber-coupled YAG, disk and fiber lasers. This led us to develop an all fiber-coupled product line.
“Another main driver for our developments is an improvement of the overall efficiency of the lasers. The outcome is that we are able to offer the industry’s most compact lasers, resulting in low floor space requirements and lower operating costs,” she said.
Laserline has been an LIA Corporate Member since not long after the company’s founding.
“First and foremost, LIA puts up the most important industry events, especially the ICALEO® and PICALO conferences. The LIA also reacts to market trends, as proven with the recent addition of LAM (Laser Additive Manufacturing Workshop). Furthermore, we rely on LIA for laser safety courses and literature, as well as support in bringing the laser community together,” said Pflueger.
In fact, Klaus Kleine of Laserline is an LIA Board of Directors member. “We are proud to be a part of LIA and are excited that we help shape its future by serving on the board.”