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About the calculation of protection levels

11.01.2022 - Website, Laser protection, Blog, Laser application, Heat influence zones

We are used to legal texts that sometimes have to be interpreted by the courts. But technical standards are expected to take into account all conceivable cases and provide razor-sharp criteria. If that were true, one could indeed always refer to the normative regulations and would be relieved of all responsibility for the result.

Those who think this way forget that mathematics is the only exact science and that technology only frequently makes use of mathematical methods. Therefore, a technical standard should only be regarded as a framework. A number of technical-physical reasons are responsible for the fact that technical standards cannot be formulated arbitrarily sharply, including limits that are subject to tolerances and inadequacies of the mathematical models on which the calculation rules are based. This is why expertise and the courage to take responsibility are also required here, because on every ship, whether it is steaming or sailing, there must be someone to regulate the matter. In our profession, this should be the laser safety officer.

Let's assume the following scenario: A YAG laser with a wavelength of 1064 nm and a continuous wave power of 500 W always radiates vertically onto the workpiece with a beam divergence of 40 mrad full angle: in the worst case, the radiation reflected from the target reaches the observer. This would require laser protection glasses D LB6. Realistically, however, only 10% of the radiation is directly reflected at the target, the rest diffusely into the half-space above the target and is negligible in the present case. This reduces the required protection level to D LB5.

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