Lightmotif, a spin-off company of the University of Twente and the M2i institute, develops production solutions for micromachining based on the use of ultrashort pulse lasers. Philips in Drachten, the Netherlands, put a new OP3 machine of Lightmotif into operation during the first half of 2018. This 5-axis laser micromachining system is used for rapid prototyping of shaving systems, as well as for machining of tooling and micro-texturing of molds. The machine uses an ultrashort pulse laser (picosecond laser), capable of precise machining of various materials without negative heat related effects by so called ablation processes (local evaporation of material). With this new capabilities Philips aim is to improve existing processes and to develop new applications.
The machine that Lightmotif has delivered is specifically developed for laser micro-milling and laser micro-texturing of flat and curved surfaces. With laser milling micrometer accurate pockets can be machined into any material, irrespective of its hardness. This technique is for example used to machine accurate 3D shaped metal prototypes or for machining tooling. Laser micro-texturing is used for example to apply very fine textures to surfaces of (curved) injection molds, which isn’t possible by other techniques. These fine textures can add new functional properties to surfaces of materials, such as reduced friction or super-hydrophobicity.
With the investment of Philips in the OP3 a close collaboration is started between Philips and Lightmotif. Lightmotif will help the application engineers of Philips in developing new processes and applications, and Philips will provide valuable user feedback to Lightmotif supporting continuous improvement of the machines and software.
Contact: Max Groenendijk, Lightmotif B.V.