PHOTON ENERGY GmbH is a medium-sized company in the optical industry. The company is specialized in the development and production of laser sources and laser marking devices for industrial applications. Their expertise are tailored solutions paired with qualified and individual customer support. This concept combined with strong product quality guarantees their sustainable success.

The state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques in our new production facility with several cleanrooms and their highly qualified employees are essential to the business. Continuous in-house training and a positive work environment ensures a high level of motivation. PHOTON ENERGY is proud of the long term commitment of their employees.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

PHOTON ENERGY: Depending on the material and laser system, various effects can be achieved. A multitude of laser applications can be realized with our laser machines and laser beam sources. Whether metals, plastics, glass or ceramics, we have a suitable laser system for almost all materials.

As a result, our laser systems are used in material processing for a wide range of industries such as automotive, electronics, mechanical engineering, medical devices and research and development.

Also, with over 30 years of experience in the field, our medical department is one of our key assets. PHOTON ENERGY offers solutions for a wide variety of medical applications including autoclavable markings on stainless steel, aluminum workpieces or implants.

E.E: What’s the news for 2020 about new products?

PHOTON ENERGY: In 2020 we were able to implement extensive improvements to our existing portfolio especially to our laser marking machine WORKSTATION and WORKSTATION XXL as well as our camera systems “CamVision by PHOTON ENERGY”.

In March, we started our new webinar series called “Tech-Talk” which will continue in February 2021 with our “TechTalkMed” offerings which will include interesting webinars on laser applications covering hands-on topics for the medical device industry.

We are currently running a couple of interesting projects that will lead to the introduction of some exciting new products in the near future, although we are currently not at liberty to discuss specifics.

E.E: What are the ranges of traded products?

PHOTON ENERGY: PHOTON ENERGY’s offer ranges from pure beam sources to beam sources with beam guidance up to complete laser marking systems.

The laser beam sources are diode-pumped, pulsed solid-state lasers with pulse durations in the nanosecond and picosecond range for micro material processing. Designed as easy-to-integrate OEM components, we primarily address system manufacturers who integrate the lasers into their machines. Of course, the lasers can also be used as stand-alone beam sources.

With the OEM markers we offer an integrated solution consisting of laser with beam deflection and software. The specially matched components form a common mechanical unit and can be easily integrated into machines or production lines.

The marking systems, on the other hand, are fully equipped with protective housing and as such represent a finished workstation for the end customer.

Thanks to our great depth of production, we offer performance and flexibility on each of the three product levels and can optimally adapt our products to the needs of our customers.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

PHOTON ENERGY: Laser markings are widely used in different industries and keep gaining importance. For example, they are used to process materials or mark products. Our application portfolio however is extensive and covers different micromachining applications, semiconductor industries, the aviation sector, R&D applications in universities and many more.

In recent years, laser markings have been especially important for medical device manufacturers, as regulations by government agencies around the globe were introduced to ensure the traceability of such products. We have also seen continued growth in that segment and offer complete industry solutions for the medical industry.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

PHOTON ENERGY: PHOTON ENERGY offers laser sources and laser marking systems for a wide range of applications, such as engraving, marking, annealing colors, cutting, material removal, carbonization, foaming, inner glass and glass surface marking.

We could observe an increasing market development in the area of micromachining:

Many industrial applications rely on laser micro machining solutions. Compared to conventional technologies lasers enable faster speed and more precise results while at the same time offering a lower cost of ownership. All of our laser sources can be used for such operations.

Micromachining refers to the processing of materials on very small scales. These techniques can be used for processes like precise drilling, cutting, structuring or micro marking of various materials. Our lasers are for instance used in applications like UDI-compliant, autoclavable markings of stainless steel or drilling in glass for lab-on-a-chip applications.

Another increasing market trend that we have observed is in the medical area.

With the EU Medical Devices Regulation (MDR), the marking of every medical device with a unique product identification, or “Unique Device Identification” (short “UDI”) is now mandatory. The UDI consists of two parts, the UDI-DI (“Device Identifier”) for the identification of product and manufacturer and the UDI-PI (“Production Identifier”), which marks the batch of a product.

PHOTON ENERGY uses its PERMAblack-technology to mark these surgical instruments. Compared to the technique typically used by our competitors, our disruptive approach distinguishes itself through significant advantages. These markings have a deep black appearance that is independent of the viewing angle (in contrast to annealing colors). If corrosion-resistant parts are marked in black with the CEPHEUS laser, no subsequent passivation (protection against corrosion) of the marked surface is necessary, in contrast to marking with a nanosecond laser.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

PHOTON ENERGY: Our most innovative product is our compact ultrashort pulse laser CEPHEUS.

The pulse width of this mode locked diode pumped solid state laser are typically below 15 ps. These ultrafast laser pulses induce nonlinear multi-photon absorption processes which to a large extent make the processing independent from laser wavelength.

That means that nearly all materials, even those being transparent at the laser wavelength, can be processed. A further advantage of the air-cooled ultrafast laser pulses is the fact that ablation is not based on heat effects like with nanosecond lasers. It´s a so called “cold ablation” which makes the CEPHEUS picosecond laser a perfect choice for all kinds of processes where deterioration of the work piece due to heat induced melting, deformation or discoloration are not acceptable.

Pulse energies in the micro joule range provide a comparably small material ablation per pulse and therefore significantly increase the precision of the process compared to nanosecond lasers. Thus, CEPHEUS lasers are the right choice wherever ns-lasers can’t meet the required precision standards.

CEPHEUS is designed for various applications. The laser is able to generate high pulse energies of up to 300 μJ which is needed for applications like precision hole drilling.

CEPHEUS can also work at high repetition rates making it the right choice for fast processing. Because of it’s variability the available laser power can be applied efficiently, thus optimizing the process in terms of quality and speed.

The technical concept of the CEPHEUS laser system allows operating it in a burst mode regime. That means that instead of a single laser pulse a set of pulses within a short period can be generated. All critical parameters can be well adjusted to your process requirements providing optimum flexibility.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2020?

PHOTON ENERGY: 2020 has been a fairly difficult year, with problems across industries especially in March and April. Of course we are also affected but are in a good position to manage the situation and are looking confidently into the future.