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Pulsed Rapid ultra-short laser surface texturing for Manufacture of FlexiblE and CusTomisEd ProdUctS

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - PROMETHEUS (Pulsed Rapid ultra-short laser surface texturing for Manufacture of FlexiblE and CusTomisEd ProdUctS)

Reporting period: 2020-07-01 to 2022-12-31

The project is bridging the existing gap between niche and mainstream applications for high power laser surface processing; and is working on finding the best approaches to deliver a broad range of surface functionalities onto metals, polymers and ceramics by way of high throughput, high spatial resolution Direct Laser Interference Patterning (DLIP) surface processing
This advanced technology enables the production of materials with advanced properties such as non-stick, low wear/friction, oleophobic or hydrophobic and expects to deliver high surface texturing speeds and enable high resolution features to be produced with minimal heat impact on work pieces
The project represents a pan-European EU consortium of world leading organizations, from industrial and research partners to four manufacturers – Maier, JJVC, CRF and Arçelik – assessing the project’s outputs against the industrial processes
Through breakthrough developments in laser sources, optics, process setup, control and monitoring, the consortium is delivering an integrated laser processing demonstrator system to showcase its capabilities according to the established goals
The new approaches to surface engineering made possible by this technology will have an impact on the increase in R&D spending, both in photonic component development necessary to control the increased power densities and in widespread application development
The exceptionally high processing rate enables cost-effective processing to price-sensitive industrial sectors such as the consortium partners: automotive, health and white goods sector

The overall objectives at the current stage are:
- Manufacture textured functional surfaces utilising fewer raw materials, less energy and less waste
- Improve accuracy, power and control over existing technologies
- Achieve fast materials processing, representing a significant increase on current laser techniques
- Increase achievable precision
- Minimize heat impact on sensitive materials
- Increase productivity
- Increase achievable flexibility and product customization
- Significantly reduce processing costs
- Industrial case study requirements capture and specification
- Definition of the:
.requirements and specification for the several components of the PROMETHEUS system: laser, optical elements and DLIP
.first approach for the system design and integration in the final assembled machine
.requirements from the final user of the system perspective, including: functional, performance and operational requirements

- Definition of the laser specifications
- Design of the laser head
- Simulation analysis and development of laser oscillator
- Development of the architecture, build up and integration of amplifier
- Scheme, experimental set-up and test arrangements of the fibre coupling
- Fiber design and test
- Preform manufactured
- Laser demo completed

- Design, manufacturing and validation of the optical DLIP module for high speed structuring (w/ and w/out PROMETHEUS laser)
- Double spot DLIP module designed and build for High-Speed processing of surfaces
.High flexibility through changing of spatial periods
.Possibility to texture non-planar surfaces due to high interference volume
- Optical and thermal simulations performed to calculate prism angles for DLIP optics and thermal heat input into material

- Initial surface texture definitions based on literature review for the case studies
- DLIP set-ups for the trials settled by the RTD partners to test and work on the case studies
- Process window analysis for each of the case study was investigated
- Textures and process windows have been defined for all case studies

- Analysis of characteristic optical signals and modelling of surface texturing
- Development of the laser diffractographic & scatterometric inspection system
- Investigation of data processing and control approaches
- Investigation of calibration techniques
- Setup of diffractometry & scatterometry systems developed with positive results at lab scale
- Space and safety considerations included in the setup

- Development of functional prototype machine able to produce valid test samples with good results
- Modification of the prototype and set up to be used by MTC at full functionality and with all safety aspects
- Conduction of analysis of the possible risks during normal operation of the Prometheus Demo prototype and implementation of all the technical solutions effectively

- Development of textures for JJVC (PEEK) and CRF (cylinder liners, die sets) that demonstrated significant increases in performance over untextured benchmark surfaces
- Enhancements of the established DLIP texture designs from WP4 for Arçelik (Dishwasher and tumble dryer cases) to increase hydrophobic performance are being investigated for the Prometheus DLIP laser
- Work on the Maier case study demonstrated the need of a low power laser process to texture the chromium plated ABS polymer components (this work is on-going)

- Development of the necessary dissemination materials
- Promotion of the project in the relevant means: presentations, publication of article, social media interaction, project dedicated website
- Definition of an initial exploitation strategy for the overall system and for each partner individually
- Assessment of the freedom to operate
- Development of an Online Dissemination Plan
- Development of an Innovation Form to track IP
- Partners worked to develop PROMETHEUS exploitation (Model Canvas) from the project point of view but also from each partner point of view
- Development of a training program (with 2 levels of expertise) to implement in EWF Qualification of Laser Personnel.
- Organisation of 2 knowledge transfer activities between partners
- Organisations and deployment of an online Public Day to present PROMETHEUS to stakeholders.
- Update of the initial marketing materials (flyer and 3 issues of the project newsletter) and a video and user guide are on-going
- For LCA some work have been done (analysis of case studies and preparation of templates)
Progress beyond the state of the art:
- Lasers from EW with pulse duration <10 ns, power > 600 W and pulse repetition rates above 500 Hz
- DLIP System from IWS
- Laser beam manipulation by HOLO-OR – A novel M2 transformation beam shaping method based on diffractive optics – m2 beam quality <5 or spatial coherence >15% and coherence length 3 mm
- Process monitoring and control from AIMEN and IRIS – development of new tool compatible with the unique set-up of DLIP
- Fibre delivery by PHOT – industrial fibres to transmit high peak power densities
– M2 Transformation DLIP Module
– Diffractometry & Scatterometry Monitoring Solutions
– Texture Functionalities
– Design of hollow core antiresonant fibre for high power delivery

Expected Results until the end of the project:
– Testing methodologies
– High-speed Laser Texturing
– Texturized demonstrators

- Strengthen industrial manufacturing based on USP lasers and extending its field of application by improvement of precision and productivity
- High contribution to digital photonic production with increased productivity, flexibility and customized products at reduced costs
- Environmental and Societal Impacts by:
– Replacement of chemical etching processes
– High-throughput efficient material removal
– Application to a wide range of materials