Laser micro-machining (LMM) is an attractive manufacturing process due to its intrinsic machining characteristics such as such as non-contact processing and capabilities to machine complex free-form surfaces in a wide range of materials. Nevertheless, state-of- art LMM platforms still do not offer the repeatability, reproducibility and operability of conventional machining centres, e.g. the flexibility to realise complex machining configurations and also to combine LMM with other complementary processes in hybrid manufacturing systems and production lines. The paper presents the development of three generic integration tools for improving the system-level performance of reconfigurable LMM platforms. In particular, the research reports the design and implementation of modular workpiece holding device, automated workpiece setting up routine and automated strategy for multi-axis LMM machining employing rotary stages. An experimental validation of their accuracy, repeatability and reproducibility (ARR) are performed on a representative state-of-art LMM platform. The results demonstrate the flexibility and operability of the proposed tools to address important system-level issues in LMM by creating the necessary pre-requisites for achieving machining ARR better than +/- 10 μm.
- laser micro-machining; reconfigurable machine tools; modular workpiece holding devices; multi-axis machining strategy; automated workpiece setting-up routines