On the move
- Category: Laser Welding
- Created: 2018-08-01
To increase business, one laser equipment manufacturer is making all of the right moves
by Susan Woods, managing editor
Being a complete laser solutions provider is true now more than ever for LaserStar Technologies Corp. The company’s customers include everyone from small mom-and-pop shops to large industrial manufacturers in the automotive, aerospace, medical device, electronics, tool and die, jewelry and firearm industries.
To continue on its successful path, LaserStar has been making moves to increase capabilities at its facilities as well as making continued technological advancements. With facilities in Riverside, R.I., Orlando, Fla., and Arcadia Calif., LaserStar has a nationwide presence.
“We have sales, service and apps lab infrastructure in all three locations,” says James Gervais, president and COO. “It’s empowered us to service and support the marketplace and exceed our customers’ expectations nationwide from a three-pronged approach – from the Northeast, the South and the West.”
Location, location, location
The Rhode Island headquarters is where high-wattage laser welding systems are designed, engineered and manufactured.
The Orlando, Fla., facility opened in 2005, and in 2014, LaserStar expanded its facilities 16,000 sq. ft. The Orlando site now designs and manufactures laser marking and engraving systems, laser cutting systems and custom industrial laser CNC workstations.
In May 2018, the company broke ground in Orlando for a new production facility next door to its current location. Expected to be completed later this year, the new state-of-the-art facility will now provide LaserStar with 29,000 sq. ft. of total facility space and the ability to design, engineer and manufacture up to 1,000 laser systems per year.
After moving its California office, which opened in 2001, from Pasadena to Arcadia, Calif., LaserStar opened a new 3,500-sq.-ft., state-of-the-art Applications and Training facility in May 2018.
“Considering our rapid growth and the increasing demand for laser demonstrations and training in the California area, we increased our office space to better serve the expectations of our customers,” Gervais says.
The company upgraded its application labs in its other two locations, as well. These labs develop laser processes for a variety of materials for welding, marking and engraving, and cutting solutions. The applications specialists understand unique materials processing needs and work to develop a customized laser solution.
In addition to making moves at its facilities, LaserStar has been making technology updates to its laser cutting systems, engraving and marking systems, and laser welding systems.
The recently introduced 3901 Series FiberStar compact laser cutting system offers a compact footprint, low operating costs and rapid return on investment. It produces high-quality, dimensionally accurate laser cuts on a variety of materials.
FiberStar cutting systems come with a 3-axis CNC system controller, integrated computer with Windows operating system and ready-to-use LaserStar MotionFX software. The air-cooled laser system is available in 150-W and 300-W models.
Adding to its line of laser engraving products, LaserStar released the FiberCubeXL laser engraving system, a full-size, turnkey marking, engraving and cutting system that offers the speed, reliability and flexibility for large-batch production applications, stringent quality control and process certification standards. Suitable for almost any material, it includes an extra-large workspace for engraving larger parts.
FiberCubeXL systems integrate the FiberStar laser marking source and provide controllable pulse rates that can be adjusted from continuous wave to single pulse for laser marking, deep laser engraving and cutting, or fast throughput thermal mark applications at up to 200 characters per second.
The system is for a range of applications, including flat surfaces, advanced integrated X,Y,Z motion for step-and-repeat laser marking, and coordinated rotary motion for seamlessly laser engraving around a circumference. It produces clean engraving that requires little to no polishing at the end of the process.
FiberCubeXL features Star-FX laser software that provides engraving and surface texturing on multiple materials. Each image can be engraved before or after a custom coating to optimize the color fill, natural shadowing and polishing effects of the final result.
About four years ago, the company started producing software in-house.
“We’re evolving into a software company that manufactures lasers as opposed to being a laser manufacturer that uses third-party software,” Gervais says. “The reason that’s important is because more and more of the laser engraving application requirements as well as industrial production guidelines are communications-based on how the machines operate and information is transmitted. Software is a critical link.”
LaserStar also offers a full product line of fiber laser welding systems in multiple power levels and platforms. The systems feature laser resonator technology that provides high peak power, optimal performance and throughput, higher uptime, enhanced electrical efficiency and a space-saving air-cooled design. Solid-state diodes provide instantaneous power with no “warm-up time” required.
Many materials can be laser welded including 300 and some 400 series stainless steel, mild steels, nickel and nickel alloys, aluminum and aluminum alloys, titanium and precious metal alloys. Applications include spot welding, seam welding, mold repair welding, battery welding, and automotive and micro components.
Made in the USA
Founded in 1957 in Riverside R.I., LaserStar celebrated 60 years in business in 2017. James and his father Donald acquired the business in 1988, began producing manual laser welding systems and renamed it LaserStar Technologies. By 2000, the company was primarily producing laser products focusing on its own laser welding, engraving and cutting machines. The company is proud of its history and of its products being made in the United States.
“Fundamentally, this company is a classic American success story where we are designing and engineering products that are made in America,” Gervais says.
In addition, LaserStar offers other ways to enhance the value of its products, such as high-level training, service and application development support. For LaserStar, “the key is always understanding and working closely with the customer to define their expectations in the beginning so there are no surprises in the end,” says Gervais.