Laser optics are subjected to a variety of conditions that cause performance degradation over time or which make it impossible to use the optics under certain conditions. These environmental factors include spatter, cleaning, pressure, moisture and heat. Variables that can affect optics life are the composition of the laser target, the composition of assist gases and different ways that operators handle the optics. Most of these factors can be adequately controlled, or at least identified, by the user. Lens Savers® windows enable users to control two factors which affect lens life—spatter damage and the degradation of the lens that arises from cleaning it. Spatter and cleaning both lead to a deterioration of the AR coating on a ZnSe lens. Even lenses that appear clean can degrade badly in performance when the AR coating begins to get wiped off. Lens Savers® block spatter and limit the amount of cleaning a lenses require, thereby extending lens life.

But, Lens Savers® are affected by other environmental factors, the most significant of which are pressure and moisture. CO2 laser Lens Saver® windows are hygroscopic, so care must be taken by the user to protect them from moisture when they are not in use. In use, the assist gas is usually sufficiently dry to protect against moisture damage. Detailed handling instructions are included with every package of Lens Saver® windows, and by following these instructions most environmental issues can be effectively dealt with. “Handling CO2 Laser Lens Saver® Protection Windows” However, there is one enemy of Lens Saver® windows that must be overcome by the lens mount—assist gas pressure.

Many of our new customers tell us at the outset that they have tried lens protection windows in CO2 laser cutting systems but that the windows always broke very quickly. These customers tell us that they know lens protection windows work in welding lasers, so they cannot understand why they won’t work in cutting lasers. The answer is almost always pressure. NaCl and KCl, the materials from which CO2 laser Lens Saver® windows are made, will not take much more than 25 pounds of pressure without breaking unless something is done to solve the pressure problem. The good news is that we’ve solved the problem. ICL has invented a series of patent pending lens mounts and adapters that allow Lens Saver® windows to survive while operating in the high assist gas pressures that are employed with CO2 lasers for cutting many substrates such as stainless steel.

Selecting a Lens Savers® Window Mount or Adapter

If you are using your laser for cutting with assist gases at pressures in excesss of 25 psi, you must use a Lens Savers® window mount or adapter to keep the window from breaking under pressure. These mounts are described in detail in the following pages and ICL will design custom mounts for any system for $499.00, which is the same price that we charge for all lens mounts and adapters in our standard product range. If you don’t see what you need, ask us and we will design it for you.

Custom Lens Mounts and Adapters

ICL routinely makes lens mounts and adapters for customers systems. In many cases, we can make an adapter or lens mount for a price that will not exceed the $499.00 that we charge for standard lens mounts. Some of these custom mounts become standard parts, but there are many mounts that we have already designed which are beyond the scope of this catalog because they do not apply to systems which are of broad interest. If you need a custom lens mount, please do not hesitate to call us. We can usually design and fabricate a custom lens mount within 4 to 6 weeks.