The Association of Industrial Laser Users (AILU) 2000 Award has gone to the team which developed the fast axial flow CO 2 laser; Martin Adams, Derek Russell and Franz van Rompuy. This is the second time in four years that TWI technology developments have received the AILU award.
In nominating the team, Paul Hilton (a Vice President of AILU) noted that the need for industrial multi-kW lasers was recognised as long ago as 1968. In 1970, the team at TWI successfully demonstrated fast axial flow technology. This trial attracted funding enabling the development of a prototype 2kW fast axial flow gas laser which produced a high quality beam capable of welding 6mm steel at 0.25m/min and cutting at high speed.
Today, the majority of high power industrial CO 2 lasers are of the fast axial flow type whose ancestry can be traced back to the 2kW prototype developed by the award winning trio in 1970.