Abstract

We report on a photodiode-based sensor system to detect cutting interruptions during laser cutting with a fiber laser. An InGaAs diode records the thermal radiation from the process zone with a ring mirror and optical filter arrangement mounted between a collimation unit and a cutting head. The photodiode current is digitalized with a sample rate of 20 kHz and filtered with a Chebyshev Type I filter. From the measured signal during the piercing, a threshold value is calculated. When the diode signal exceeds this threshold during cutting, a cutting interruption is indicated. This method is applied to sensor signals from cutting mild steel, stainless steel, and aluminum, as well as different material thicknesses and also laser flame cutting, showing the possibility to detect cutting interruptions in a broad variety of applications. In a series of 83 incomplete cuts, every cutting interruption is successfully detected (alpha error of 0%), while no cutting interruption is reported in 266 complete cuts (beta error of 0%). With this remarkable high detection rate and low error rate, the possibility to work with different materials and thicknesses in combination with the easy mounting of the sensor unit also to existing cutting machines highlight the enormous potential for this sensor system in industrial applications.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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