U.Va. Engineering School to Host Laser-Based Manufacturing Workshop

October 25, 2010

October 25, 2010 — The University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science will host a workshop. "Laser-Based Manufacturing," on Nov. 10, from 8 a.m. to 4:05 p.m., at U.Va.'s Miller Center of Public Affairs. Bringing together national experts from academia, government agencies and industry, the workshop is free and open to the public.

The workshop is sponsored by the National Science Foundation's multi-university Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Laser and Plasma for Advanced Manufacturing. It will provide an overview of laser-based manufacturing through practical examples from the automotive, aerospace, medical, microelectronics/energy and laser equipment manufacturing industries.

"Laser and plasma technologies will shape the future of manufacturing," said center director Mool Gupta, a professor in the U.Va. Engineering School's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "Research in this field can dramatically improve the efficiency of manufacturing, while also making it less impactful on the environment."

With recent advances in high-power lasers in terms of lower cost, reduction in size, hands-free operation, enhanced efficiency and non-contact processing benefits, there is a growing adaptation of the technology in various industrial sectors, including aerospace, microelectronics, photovoltaics, medical, automotive and general manufacturing.

The workshop will cover the fundamentals of laser-matter interactions, welding, micromachining, cladding, surface texturing and laser direct metal deposition. Participants will discuss advances in high-power laser equipment, laser system integration and hybrid laser processing; provide knowledge on laser applications, systems and design of components; and offer a small-business perspective on laser-based manufacturing.

The Industry/University Cooperative Research Center for Laser and Plasma for Advanced Manufacturing has a mission to develop a science, engineering and technology base for laser and plasma processing of materials, devices and systems. The center's academic and industry partners have the requisite expertise and equipment, valued in excess of more than $5 million, to pursue research and development in this area. The center provides a core technology base in lasers and plasma, support for the creation and growth of innovative collaborations among industry partners, and the opportunity to enhance existing research relationships with federal laboratories.

In addition to U.Va., the center's partners are the University of Michigan, Southern Methodist University and University of Illinois.  Industry and governmental members include AREVA Inc., U.S. Army Research Lab, GE Global Research, Lockheed Martin, GM, Halliburton and Trumpf Lasers, among many others.

For information about the workshop, visit here or contact Mool C. Gupta at 434-924-6167 or mgupta@virginia.edu.

— By Zak Richards