As a leader and pioneer in developing and commercializing fiber lasers, IPG Photonics’ diverse lines of low, medium, and high-power lasers and amplifiers are displacing traditional technologies in many current applications. Their lasers and amplifiers reach into numerous markets, including materials processing, communications, entertainment, medicine, and biotechnology.
Founded in Russia in 1991 by physicist Valentin P. Gapontsev, Ph.D., IPG originally produced and sold customized glass and crystal lasers, laser components, and wireless temperature meters for hyperthermia. In 1992, the company began to focus on the development of high-power fiber lasers and amplifiers.
IPG landed its first major contract with Itatel, a telecommunications carrier. The company then won a second major contract with DaimlerBenz Aerospace. In 1994, IPG opened a facility in Germany and established its world headquarters in the U.S. in 1998. In 2000, the company invested in new high-capacity production facilities in the U.S. to manufacture its own diode pumps—a major component of its fiber lasers and amplifiers. The company went public in 2006 and is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market as IPGP.
With more than 4,000 employees today, IPG has local sales and service in more than 20 countries worldwide. Its three major manufacturing sites are currently located in the U.S., Germany, and Russia.
IPG’s vertically integrated development and manufacturing abilities allow the company to meet customer requirements, accelerate development, manage costs, and improve yields. The company is able to produce all critical components for its lasers and amplifiers, which it markets to OEMs, system integrators, and end users.
Being the first company to industrialize fiber laser technology, IPG has the broadest array of laser products in the industry. This includes high-power fiber lasers up to 100 kW for materials processing, pulsed fiber lasers for marking and engraving, and fiber lasers covering UV, visible, and mid-IR wavelengths.
Having displaced the traditional CO2 and diode-pumped solid-state technologies as the preferred laser tool for industrial material processing, IPG’s high-power CW fiber laser product line is arguably the most important offered by the company. These lasers are used in the cutting, welding, and drilling of metals within various industries ranging from automotive to aerospace to general manufacturing. Much of this product line’s success can be attributed to IPG’s in-house diode fabrication facility, which accounts for cost reductions.
In the next five years, IPG is looking toward the introduction of cost-effective, high-performance, reliable ultra-fast fiber lasers with a pulse duration in the 100 fsec to 10 psec range. With a higher efficiency, this laser advancement will enable smaller air-cooled packages. The company is also looking toward the expansion of fiber laser technology into the MID-IR wavelengths.
The improved reliability and increased efficiency of high-fiber power lasers as an accepted mainstream industrial tool has led to increase in laser adoption in the automotive industry, a trend that is expected to continue with the push to adopt lightweight materials and electric or battery-driven cars. IPG has monitored these shifts in the industry and will continue to be a leading developer in this area.
IPG Photonics has been a member of LIA since 2002. For more information about the company and its products, visit www.ipgphotonics.com.
This was written by Lindsay Weaver Burt in collaboration with IPG Photonics.