Set your lasers to stun

Paul Boughton

Power quality specialist REO UK has launched a new range of switch mode power supplies (SMPS) for use in laser perforation applications.

The new REOTRON SMP is used to overcome power quality issues caused by conventional power supplies when used for high frequency laser perforation in applications including food and beverage, printing, packaging and food processing.

The REOTRON is available in power ranges up to 65kW and even higher with series and parallel connections. Designed for precise control, the REOTRON is suitable not just for laser perforation but also electrochlorination, desalination, metal plating and cathodic protection applications where control and reliability is paramount.

Providing a controllable output of 0-24V DC voltage regulation, 0-100A current regulation and 5000W power regulation, the REOTRON SMP comes with a built in digital front panel for adjusting and displaying the set-point. Alternatively, an external control signal of 0-10V and 0(4)-20mA can be used instead.

Innovations in food and beverage processing, printing and packaging have replaced older mechanical methods with inventive technologies to reduce complexity and increase process speed. One such innovation, laser micro perforation, is now used to create microscopic holes in film and card. Thicker materials can be used to provide structural rigidity while allowing easy tear-paths and controlled air-flow and moisture release in food packaging, improving shelf life.

"Despite the use of new generation laser technology, many applications still use conventional power supplies not suited for the high frequency, highly capacitive, load placed on the power supply," explained Steve Hughes, managing director of REO UK.

"This causes power quality problems including voltage fluctuations, unwanted tripping and dips in output voltage, in turn, leading to a drop in laser power, which results in poor process performance. We want to achieve very small, well defined, uniformly spaced holes.

"We've designed the REOTRON SMP to overcome these problems by creating special control algorithms for use with capacitive loads. This means that we can maintain voltage and current with a high level of accuracy. The benefit to anyone using laser perforation is the capacity for faster product throughput and with a lower reject rate."

In addition to this, lasers are often liquid-cooled. The REOTRON SMP alleviates the need for forced cooling and provides a more compact solution. REO has designed the REOTRON to connect to customers' existing liquid-cooled systems, reducing the overall product footprint and increasing power density.

The REOTRON SMP range can also be supplied with a range of fieldbus interfaces, including Profibus DP, DeviceNet and CANBUS. To enhance connectivity, remote monitoring is available using a REODATA-GSM module. This fieldbus system can provide instantaneous voltage, current and power readings to a master control system.