Light for Innovation – since 1986, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has been committed to advancing laser technology. Supported by the Lower Saxony Ministry for Economics, Labor and Transport, the LZH has been devoted to the selfless promotion of applied research in the field of laser technology. The LZH is a private non-profit research and development institution, having the legal status of a registered association. Research, development, consulting, training and education as well as the promotion of young talents in the fields of photonics and laser technology are the main tasks of the LZH. Work in the endorsed research projects always aims at the current and future demands of the business. For industrial projects, the focus of the work of the LZH is on direct customer benefits. The activities of the LZH in WeLASER will be carried out by two groups: Food & Farming Group (FAF) in the Biomedical Optics Department and the Safety Technology Group (SHT) in the Materials and Processes Department.
The FAF group aims at transferring optical technologies to application in the agriculture and food industry, building on the employees’ expertise from imaging and spectroscopy to laser-tissue and laser-plant interaction. Relevant topics include laser disinfection of food (poultry), laser labelling (plants, fruit, carcasses), as well as weed and pest control in agricultural production (laser weeding and treatment of herbivorous insects).
Apart from a broad knowledge in the field of laser process development, the scientific employees of the SHT Group can rely on long-term experience and extensive know-how in the field of laser safety. Important areas of their work are the evaluation of exposure with respect to specular and diffusely reflected laser radiation, the performance of risk analyses and the development of laser safety concepts for different laser material processing tasks. A focus is placed on the investigation of safety aspects in the course of mobile and hand-held laser processing methods and tools. An important example in this context is the actual cooperative national project “LaserRescue”, in which a device for rescue in complex accident scenarios is developed (see list of relevant projects).
A main part of the project work is the evaluation of risks connected with the high-power laser radiation used and the development and integration of concepts and components to guarantee the employees’ occupational safety and health. A former project of the SHT Group in which technical laser safety was an important aspect to be considered and investigated is the laser equipment assessment subproject MOBILLAS as a part of the EU project LASHARE (EU FP7-ICT project “Laser equipment ASsessment for High impAct innovation in the manufactuRing European industry”, ref. no. 609046). In the former EU project “PROSYS-Laser” (see list of relevant projects), the employees of the SHT Group dealt with the analysis and development of laser-protective clothing and curtains for the use with hand-held laser processing devices. Moreover, a thorough investigation of applicable technical safety measures for the use of hand-held laser processing devices was performed in the course of a further national project funded by the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA, project F 2158).