Laser Processing: Yeah, There’s an App for That

Laser material processing is rather demanding of compute power when it comes to simulating the effects of the beam on materials. So rather than expecting everyone—especially engineers who may be on the factory floor—to have ready access to a computer cluster, developers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ( have developed a laser simulation package that can run on smart phones and tablets.

Yes, it is simplified, but it still does the job.

For example, consider laser drilling. One of the key areas of interest is how the shape of the drill hole changes in the material given changes in focal position or spot diameter. Parameters can be changed using sliders, and the results are generated immediately.

Another benefit of this reduced model-size approach is that it lends itself to what’s known as “metamodeling.” The application allows the creation of parameter sets that can be combined and manipulated so that optimal parameters can be readily assessed.

The ILT developers are taking their simulation approach even further, beyond lasers and metamodeling, all the way—potentially—to using reduced models for automotive crash test simulations.