KLM Microlaser develops and produces a new generation of highly accurate laser micromachining systems. The company was founded in 2019 by Ekkehard Alschweig, resulting from a collaborative project between Kern Microtechnik GmbH and Lightmotif B.V. . KLM Microlaser is strongly affiliated to Kern, and uses KERN expertise for the mechanical engineering, assembling and service of the machines. Lightmotif has become part of KLM Microlaser and is responsible for research and development.
The first machine that is developed by KLM Microlaser, the KLM-E1, targets the tool and die production, and it excels in machining precisely shaped and very detailed surfaces. While this machine offers a motion system with 3 axes, future developments will include 5-axis machining systems for applications on curved surfaces.
“The goal Lightmotif always was to design and build the best laser systems available combined with advanced processes. Now that we have become part of KLM Microlaser and collaborate with KERN, together we are able to offer this to the production industry and make a real difference for our customers.”
CEO Lightmotif B.V.
“I could never have imagined how easy it would be to machine tungsten carbide as with the KLM laser.”
M.D. KLM Microlaser GmbH
The KLM-E1 is a 3-axis laser micro-milling system using a femtosecond laser source, making it suitable for the most difficult to machine materials. The machine is based on a proven high-precision KERN motion platform and state-of-the-art laser micro-machining control software. The system is designed for accurate laser micro-milling of small workpieces. In contrast to conventional milling machines the KLM-E1 has a low energy consumption, uses no oil or other liquids, requires no chip removal, and has a low noise emission level, making it a sustainable production system.
Automatic measurements are used to keep the machine in calibration and compensate for any drifts in the spot position or the laser power of the machine. This guarantees accuracy as well as stable and reproducible results on the long term.
The machined depth is measured during machining and deviations are compensated automatically. This significantly reduces the depth error in laser micro-milling.
Laser micro-milling using ultrashort pulse lasers makes it possible to machine accurately shaped structures with very small features into nearly any material. The process allows removal of extremely thin layers and is especially interesting for machining of very hard materials or delicate parts. A typical application is machining of stamp tools in cemented tungsten carbide, for which a specific laser process was developed that is fast, precise and results in a low surface roughness. Machining of an insert press tool typically takes only 2 hours of laser machining time, and in contrast to EDM machining, it does not require consumables or electrodes. The laser process significantly reduces the production costs, is simple to use and fulfills the highest customer demands in quality.
Other applications are press and forming tools for automotive, coins and watch industry.
Laser micro-texturing using ultrashort pulse lasers is a new technology for applying surface textures with fine micron sized features and a high depth resolution to nearly any material. The fine textures make it possible to change functional properties of surfaces, like reduction of friction or change of optical properties. Textures can be directly applied to parts or to tools like injection molds. The functional textures then can be transferred to parts during the molding process.
Although the currently offered KLM-E1 machine is limited to 3 axes, we can already perform application development in our R&D facilities at Lightmotif on an accurate 5-axis system. Together with specifically developed CAM software this enables applying of fine textures to complex curved parts