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Selection Guides

DETERMINING THE EXACT
LASER MODULE FOR  
MACHINE VISION APPLICATIONS

  • Selecting a Laser  Module to fit an application should be a fluid process. From identifying key specifications to considering unique variables and requirements to testing and potentially customizing the final laser – it is not a one-size-fits-all solution.
     
  • Many off-the-shelf l aser modules will suit more common applications; however, three key factors will impact the precision, performance, and durability of the laser module within a system. 
     
  • We will discuss those key factors, outline the standard specifications of the laser i tself and provide guidance on when customizing a laser module could be the best solution.

SYSTEM PARAMETERS, PROCESS GOALS

AND THEIR IMPACT ON  PRECISION

/ TECHNOLOGY

Matching the best laser specifications to an  application starts by considering the type of  technology applied. Each type of  technology  applied in Machine Vision – Displacement,  measuring width and length; Profile,  measuring the outline or 2-D shape of an object; and Snapshot, measuring various points on an  object to generate a 3-D image – will require a different beam profile to best measure and produce an image rendering.

/ OBJECT SIZE AND MATERIAL

The size and material of the object(s) being  measured must be considered to select the  optimal combination of wavelength, line width, and depth of focus. The wrong wavelength for the  color and material of the object being measured will result in limited  visibility or too much refraction of the laser light to generate accurate measurements. Too fine a line width will result in  highly i naccurate measurements if a greater depth of  focus is  required. Line width and depth of focus are  generally related by a factor of 1.4.

/ WORKING DISTANCE

Depth of focus is a physical parameter that  measures how quickly a line will go out of  focus and become thicker as the object moves out of the focus distance. In some  cases, it is not always possible to measure objects  directly in the focus position, but it may be necessary to move a few millimeters out of that focus position. If the line gets very thick very quickly outside of that focus  position, it will be impossible to get an  accurate  measurement. A higher depth of focus ensures that while the laser may not be in its i deal  focus distance, the line thickness is still  acceptable for performing the task at hand.

OPERATING ENVIRONMENT

AND THE IMPACT ON PERFORMANCE

Changing temperatures, exposure to air, and other variables of the operating environment will impact the performance of the laser. As such, operating conditions should be a  primary consideration. For example, a highly controlled laboratory environment could allow for the use of a laser outside of the eye-safe classification. When 
 operating in an outdoor environment subject to varying light l evels, wide ranges of temperature, dust or debris, and other variables, selecting the right output power along with the correct housing size and material will also be critical.
Key considerations of an operating  environment are:

  • Laser exposure to water, moisture, etc.
  • Laser exposure to the elements
  • Varying temperatures
  • Other objects coming into contact  
  • with the laser
  • People in proximity to the laser when in operation

LASER  MODULE LOCATION

AND AVAILABLE SPACE FOR OPTIMAL DURABILITY

The space available for the laser module within the machine  vision system is another  component critical to the successful  operation of the laser. The durability of the laser,  precise measurements 
and optimal  performance all rely on how securely the housing sits 
 within a system and how durable the housing  material is in regard to the operating  environment. A laser module’s housing can  easily be  customized, and there are several variables to consider when 
 determining the material, size, and form factor of a laser module housing.
Key considerations include:

  • Standalone module
  • Integrated module
  • Exposure of housing to extreme conditions
  • Size of available space for the module
  • Additional connections to the module

In a standalone system, the size of the laser module is likely not 
l imited by fitting into an existing system, and there is much  greater  flexibility  regarding the size of the  housing. Very often, an off-
the-shelf  module will suit the application with no risk to durability,  precision, or  performance.
For systems that integrate a laser module, requiring a fixed size, the accurate integration of the laser module within a specific system will  ensure stability of the module - protecting it from vibrations and 
 preventing movement of the module.
Another housing factor is the environment in which the laser will be used, and certain  housing materials will ensure greater  durability and l ongevity of the module over time vs. a  standard housing. Will the device be exposed to harsh  environmental conditions such as 
 extreme  temperatures, moisture, or more? For these  applications, the housing will need to be IP54 or IP67 protection class rating.
Certain types of integrated laser  module  applications may require a two-housing  configuration by which the optics are installed in one housing and the drive  electronics are i nstalled in the second. This 
 offers  greater  flexibility and can deliver advantages in  situations where heat and wavelength drift may be issues. 

Nicholas Connelly
For the right laser for your needs
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LASER MODULE SPECIFICATIONS AND AVAILABLE RANGES

From LASER COMPONENTS

/ LINE WIDTH

Standard, Thin and Enhanced lines are available. Use our custom line width simulator to determine the optimal line width, power, and wavelength combination based on the required working distance. Line widths as fine as 10 microns are available up to several 100 microns.

/ WAVELENGTH

Ranging from 405–850nm, choosing the right wavelength is dependent on the color and type of material the laser is projected onto, as well as the sensitivity of the camera.

/ POWER OUTPUT

10–100mW. Often, a pulsed laser can accomplish the same process requirements of a higher powered laser while operating at class 2  eye safety.

/ BEAM PROFILE

Dot, Line or Pattern. With 30+ patterns available and able to be i nstalled as fixed within the module or as a removable cap.

/ HOUSING

Standard housings are available as small as 8mm in diameter and 16 mm in length. Select Laser Modules housings will meet protection class IP67 requirements. Because LASER COMPONENTS  manufactures every FLEXPOINT® Laser Module in-house, there are a variety of options to customize the size and material of the housing, as well as offer dual housing modules.

/ MODULATION FREQUENCY

I f the laser is required to turn off and on in accordance with the system, the modulation frequency can be specifically programmed.

WHEN A CUSTOM LASER IS THE BEST FIT

Beyond Borders

Many readily available laser modules will suit the majority of  applications. When considering the specific requirements of a  single, unique  application - if the thought of compromising durability for  performance, or  risking precision for lack of proper housing arises - it is time to search for a supplier able to offer more options. It can be  difficult to identify each of the parameters listed above on paper, and this is where a trusted partner comes in vs. purchasing an out-of-the-box solution.

The variety of offerings combined with full ownership of the manufacturing process allows LASER COMPONENTS to combine a wide  array of variables into a custom-built laser for each specific application.

At LASER COMPONENTS we offer a wide range of specifications, manufacture 100 percent of our FLEXPOINT® Laser Modules in-house and every sales member has direct experience in technical and design engineering to consult on any project.

Many off-the-shelf l aser  modules will suit more  common  applications; however, three key  factors will impact the precision,  performance, and durability of the l aser module within a system.

We will discuss those key factors, outline the standard specifications of the laser i tself and provide guidance on when customizing a laser module could be the best solution.

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Beyond Borders

LASER COMPONENTS USA - Your competent partner for optical and optoelectronic components in the United States.

Welcome to LASER COMPONENTS USA, Inc., your expert for photonics components. Each product in our wide range of detectors, laser diodes, laser modules, optics, and more is worth every Dollar ($/USD). Our customized solutions cover all conceivable areas of application: from sensor technology to medical technology. You can reach us here:

116 South River Road
Building C
Bedford, NH 03110
USA

Phone: +1 603 821 7040
Email: info(at)laser-components.com

Team of experts
You have questions or need our support?
Please call us.
Nicholas Connelly
Sales Account Manager / UV LEDs, Laser Diodes and Modules
Nicholas Connelly
LASER COMPONENTS USA Inc.
03110 Bedford, NH
Huyen Vu
Sales Director / Optics, Lasers
Huyen Vu
LASER COMPONENTS USA Inc.
03110 Bedford, NH
Michael Tuohy
Sales Account Manager / Optics, Lasers
Michael Tuohy
LASER COMPONENTS USA Inc.
03110 Bedford, NH
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Laser Components

116 South River Road
Building C
Bedford, NH 03110
USA

Phone: +1 603 821 7040

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