More companies than ever before are investing in fiber lasers. While the automotive industry was undoubtedly

More companies than ever before are investing in fiber lasers. While the automotive industry was undoubtedly the early adopter, this relatively new solution is being snapped up across the board and when you consider the advantages, it’s easy to see why. The sheer speed of fiber laser markers makes them the first choice for customers looking to increase efficiency. They’re the fastest laser marking technology at their wavelength, delivering marking times of less than one second for some applications. While older, more established laser technology is available—including diode-pumped solid-state (DPSS) lasers, lamp-pumped lasers, and carbon dioxide (CO2) lasers—none can beat a fiber laser for combined mark speed and quality. This means fiber lasers can break new ground. For example, one of Laser Lines’ customers is an automotive component manufacturer that needs to mark serial codes exceptionally fast—in under half a second—which wouldn’t be possible with any other type of laser. How do they achieve their speed? They’re better configured for speed and aggression, and are also more powerful. DPSS laser systems, for example, rarely have a power rating ov...

NASA funds demo of 3D-printed spacecraft parts made, assembled in orbit

NASA has awarded a $73.7 million contract to Made In Space Inc. of Mountain View, California, to demonstrate the ability of a small spacecraft, called Archinaut One, to manufacture and assemble spacecraft components in low-Earth orbit. Archinaut One is expected to launch on a Rocket Lab Electron rocket from New Zealand no earlier than 2022. Once it’s positioned in low-Earth orbit, the spacecraft will 3D-print two beams that extend 32ft (10m) out from each side of the spacecraft. As manufacturing progresses, each beam will unfurl two solar arrays that generate up to 5x more power than traditional solar panels on spacecraft of similar size. The contract is the start of the second phase of a partnership established through NASA’s Tipping Point solicitation. The public-private partnership combines NASA resources with an industry contribution of at least 25% of the program costs, shepherding the development of critical space technologies. “In-space robotic manufacturing and assembly are unquestionable game-changers and fundamental capabilities for future space exploration,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate...