Laser materials processing technology will only realise its full potential within Europe when processing results can be reliably measured, documented and reproduced elsewhere. This demands the development and adoption of adequate and standardised means of measuring the important laser parameters. The proposed thematic network in this area will inform and update laser users/suppliers, and provide a means for their comments and concerns to be fed back into the standards under development. The important objectives of the network will be:
- To support the introduction of ISO standards on laser beam measurements within the European Community.
- To establish a platform for awareness raising relating to laser beam measurements within the laser industry.
- To bring together research carried out within the EU relating to laser beam measurements, in particular with respect to inter-comparison experiments.
- To provide a mechanism for the coordination of national activities and the development of measurement standards relating to laser beam characterisation. Due to the need to harmonise the standards for laser beam measurements in Europe, the establishment of a network in this field appears very feasible. In particular, due to the difficulty of establishing traceability in some laser beam measurement areas back to national standards, the network will provide an important platform for intercomparison experiments.
Partners will be sought from the areas of ISO committees and working groups, research organisations working on equipment design, development and accreditation, commercial manufacturers of test and measuring equipment, builders and suppliers of laser systems, and industrial users of such equipment. The latter are seen as the most important players in this network. Mechanisms will be sought whereby the laser user will be provided in the future with clearer, usable and useful ISO standards and a better choice of measuring equipment, which is reliable, in line with the standards and traceable. During the implementation phase of the network, the following are suggested as potential activities. Organisations and companies who should be informed on laser beam standards activities in Europe will be identified and details assembled on a PC database which will form the basis for communication of information in the relevant area throughout Europe. A platform for execution of comparison experiments will be established and an assessment of test methods for laser beam parameters in terms of cost, simplicity and adherence to ISO standards is also proposed. Dissemination of information will be by national and international seminars and if possible, use of the Internet will be made. Links to trade associations and their regular newsletters will be used effectively in this area.