What is Direct Diode Laser Technology?

Mazak introduces direct diode laser technology to the laser-cutting industry 

By Al Bohlen, President, Mazak Optonics Corp. 

Mazak Optonics Corp. introduced a first of its kind laser-cutting machine which utilized a direct diode laser (DDL), the OPTIPLEX 3015 DDL. This machine has changed the game for high power laser cutting. Direct diode laser technology has shaken the industrial laser-cutting industry, but not everyone understands what it is, how it works or why it has gained such traction. 

What is direct diode laser (DDL) technology? 

The name explains the process. DDL technology utilizes diodes directly. This is managed through eliminating the doped fiber system used in fiber laser technology. Which in turn, makes the DDL course more efficient since the middle process is now eliminated. Direct diode lasers are also the smallest and most reliable laser source, all while having an exceptionally high quality beam. 

What is DDL now being introduce as a laser source? 

Until recently, DDL has only been available in power levels less than 2,000 watts, which has limited its use in a wider range of industrial cutting applications. Today, the platform has been developed and expanded to accommodate 8,000+ watts of power. These higher power levels combined with its very unique characteristics including reliability, efficiency and quality have now allowed DDL to be utilized in thicker material applications. While many laser users have embraced solid state laser technology and the benefits from higher cut speeds and lower costs of operation, these users have desired high edge quality that has not yet been possible with fiber and disc technology. 

What are the benefits? 

There are three key areas which DDL has made advancements over CO2, fiber and disc laser technology. 

First is the overall efficiency of the laser. Mazak's DDL has improved wall plug efficiency compared to any of the other laser sources. This is because the diodes can be used directly instead of having to go through the doped fiber system.

The second key benefit of DDL technology is the cut speeds. DDL has cut speed advantages typically about 15% faster in all material types and thickness, but it is most notable in aluminum. We are seeing, in some cases, 30% faster cut speeds in aluminum over fiber or disc. 

However, what is most notable is the superior cut quality in all materials over the typical results seen in fiber or disc technology. Due to the DDL wavelength and beam shape, characteristics are different than the other laser sources. The DDL characteristics are such that we can provide a more superior edge quality not yet seen on fiber or disc lasers all while running at speeds, which in many cases, are faster. DDL has the ability to cut a wide range of material types and thickness, including a variety of steel compositions, aluminum, stainless steel, etc. In addition, DDL is very capable of cutting Titanium, Hastelloy, Inconel and other exotics quite well. 

What does Mazak Optonics offer for DDL technology? 

Mazak Optonics Corp. currently offers 2D and 3D laser-cutting machines utilizing DDL technology. These laser-cutting systems deliver higher performance and reliability over traditional fiber or other solid state laser generation systems. 

The OPTIPLEX 3015 DDL laser-cutting system has changed the game with its impeccable finished parts' edge quality and extraordinary cutting speeds. This machine also has Mazak's cutting-edge PreviewG control and drive system which has integrated tech tables to simplify operation. The OPTIPLEX 3015 DDL incorporates Mazak's Intelligent Multi-Control Torch HP-D and Nozzle Changer technology to directly increase the productivity of the end user by allowing the machine to optimize the torch setup automatically per program. This optimization can dramatically improve cut speeds, increase throughput and require less operator intervention, delivering more predictable processing day after day. 

The FG-220 DDL machine is designed for tube and structural applications. The machine's rugged performance and precision 3D laser cutting allows it to easily cut a large range of tube and pipe whether round, square, rectangular and triangular. In addition, the FG-220 DDL can completely process I and H beams, angle iron and additional user defined shapes. A four chuck work support system provides greater rigidity in the cut zone allowing for more weight, larger diameters and longer lengths. The 3D cutting head maximizes flexibility and range of movement which expands the range of applications possible. 

Mazak has made significant investments to develop proprietary DDL technology and is excited to have this unique exclusive advantage. Mazak has established itself as the first to market with DDL and as the leader in DDL development. The company will continue to expand its power levels and offerings in all ranges of products.

For more details on the DDL laser-cutting solutions that Mazak Optonics offers, check out OPTIPLEX 3015 DDL and FG-220 DDL. To learn more about DDL technology check out the study done on direct diode vs. other laser systems used in laser cutting from Industrial Laser Solutions.  

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About Mazak Optonics Corporation

Mazak Optonics Corporation is a major supplier of laser-cutting systems, offering 50 laser models and leading the industry in the implementation of emerging laser technologies. The company’s 50,000 sq. ft. North American Headquarters are located in Elgin, Illinois, and feature a 30,000 sq. ft. laser technology center housing up to 18 machines for demonstrations and training. Mazak Optonics is part of Yamazaki Mazak Corporation (Oguchi, Japan), the global leader for the manufacture of machine tools and systems for the precision machining of metal parts, including CNC turning centers, horizontal and vertical machining centers, Multi-Tasking machining centers, turnkey cells and software solutions. The North American Headquarters for Yamazaki Mazak are located in Florence, Kentucky. For more information on Mazak Optonics’ products and solutions, visit www.mazakoptonics.com, email sales@mazaklaser.com or call 847.252.4500.