Insights from industry

The Role of 3D Scan Heads in Additive Manufacturing


In this interview, AZoM talks to Joe Fillion, Commercial Director of FARO Photonics about how 3D scan heads benefit additive manufacturing.

Can you give a brief overview of your FARO Photonics, the products you produce and the markets you serve?

FARO Photonics designs and manufactures high-precision laser scan heads, Ethernet-based vector controllers, and advanced processing software to provide an integrated steering solution for a wide range of advanced laser processing applications.

Can you please explain the basic principles of 3D scan heads and their applications in additive manufacturing?

Laser additive manufacturing (either Selective Laser Melting or Selective Laser Sintering), is the repeated fusing of powders to build three-dimensional objects with great speed and precision while providing improved metallurgical characteristics.  To achieve accurate layer-by-layer processing, precision-control laser beam steering is required. 3D scan heads enable the fast and precise positioning of the laser beam to melt and fuse the metallic powders together based on the modeled three-dimensional CAD designs. 


What are the most prominent features of the 3D-Contour Scan Head?

The first is the large field/small spot. The 3D-Contour can not only scan fields as large as 1m x 1m but can also produce a laser spot size as small as 30µm enabling superb accuracy for very large objects.  This ability to vary the field and spot size offers excellent process flexibility.

The second is the fast processing of 3D work surfaces. The 3D-Contour incorporates an XY scan head plus a linear lens translator (Z-axis) that can produce a flat or contoured field by dynamically focusing on the surface of the workpiece faster than any other 3D scan head in the marketplace.

Are there any examples in which the 3D-Contour Scan Head has provided a solution to a particular application?

The 3D-Contour has been used for a variety of industrial and medical applications.  

3D-Contour Scan Head

3D-Contour Scan Head

What benefits does the 3D-Contour Scan Head have over other similar products on the market?

Designed with FARO’s patented BLINK High-Speed Focuser (50G acceleration), the 3D-Contour dynamically maps a focal correction onto the laser beam as a function of its XY position, allowing high-speed processing of large planar samples with very small spot sizes to support the processing of 3D samples. 

What are the benefits of using the BLINK High-Speed Focuser as a stand-alone product?

BLINK combines a precision ground guideway with direct voice-coil drive, resulting in a very compact, high-performance focuser capable of continuous operation with a 50G peak sine wave.  Its ultra-low moving mass minimizes reaction forces with only one moving part, BLINK offers exceptional reliability and service life when compared to traditional taut band actuators. When used in combination with the 3D-Contour, it provides an impressive 170mm Focus Depth @ 64 µm spot size over a 450mm field!

What advantages will members of the photonics industry receive by using FARO Photonics?

FARO Photonics specializes in valued engineering solutions by working closely with its customers to build better laser processing solutions that save time and money while increasing processing yield. With over 20 years of laser processing expertise, FARO Photonics offers:

  • < 4-Week Lead Time
  • Superior Customer Support
  • Custom Solutions to Maximize Customer Designs

What’s next for FARO Photonics?

FARO Photonics is continuing to develop next-generation laser processing components that will help customers achieve greater speed, accuracy, and process flexibility. 

About Joe Fillion

Joe FillionJoe Fillion is the Commercial Director for FARO Photonics where he leads product management and commercial deployment of FARO products including innovation and technology trends, product definition, and market requirements from ideation through commercialization.

Joe has led the launch of several disruptive technologies and products winning several innovation awards including a Red Dot.  His high-tech product experience includes working with multiple companies worldwide from startups to Fortune 100. 

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily represent the views of Limited (T/A) AZoNetwork, the owner and operator of this website. This disclaimer forms part of the Terms and Conditions of use of this website.


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