Improves Industrial Laser Systems
Electrical power is vital to a laser’s operation.
Power quality, availability and distribution play a vital role in the laser’s performance.
Laser manufacturers must consider these factors when designing new systems
BY DAVE PROLI
MARWAY POWER SOLUTIONS
Lasers are precise instruments, and all components – internal or external – must meet exacting requirements. This
includes the power supply.
Laser systems need clean power
Stable power free of noise is paramount
for laser systems to perform optimally and
reliably. A clean AC signal has a perfectly
smooth sine wave (Figure 1) when viewed
on an oscilloscope. Any imperfections
in this signal can adversely affect laser
equipment, causing poor performance,
incorrect functionality or even damage to
Mobile power sources and power utilities in some developing nations will not
deliver clean signals. Even the clean
power supplied by a developed nation’s
power utility will become degraded within
a facility. This degradation is caused by
the very devices that use the power, such
as air conditioners and compressors;
electric heating equipment; motor-driven
industrial machinery; elevators and
conveyors; computers, printers and copy
machines; and ballasts for fluorescent
Because signal problems are introduced
to power lines throughout a facility’s
wiring, it is beneficial to add power conditioning at points throughout the facility.
An effective place to do this is at power
distribution points near the end-use equipment with a PDU.
Several problems exist that can affect a
voltage signal. The most severe is a complete loss of power for short- or long-term
durations. Similarly, significant periods of
excessively low or high voltage are also a
problem. Solutions generally are too large
or specialized to integrate within a near-point-of-use PDU and are best applied
as external complements.
Most other conditioning problems involve various forms of high-voltage surges
(aka spikes) and electromagnetic interference (EMI), also known as electrical
noise, or just noise. The solutions to minimizing these signal problems are well
suited to the integration within a PDU.
Spikes commonly come from power-
switching equipment such as circuit break-
Figure 1. Signal conditioning of AC power seeks to
ensure as close to a perfect sine wave in the voltage
signal as possible. The upper waveform has no
noise, whereas the lower one is quite noisy.
Courtesy of Marway Power Solutions.
In laser system power distribution, many factors come into play, including:
• What type of power conversion does the laser system require
(facility voltage/configuration vs. equipment needs)?
• What type of power receptacle is required?
• What types of control and monitoring capabilities are needed?
• What type of power conditioning is required?
• What kinds of noise and transients are present in the facility power?
• How stable is the facility power (will brownouts and blackouts cause
• How sensitive is my equipment to the issues listed above?
Before diving in and selecting a power distribution unit, it’s important to
understand the variety of power challenges, as this can determine what type
of power distribution is needed.