Transcript for Manufacturing The Future Conference 2015 - interview with Professor Duncan Hand

My name is Professor Duncan Hand. I work at Heriot-Watt University and I'm also Director for the Centre for Innovative Manufacturing and Laser-Based Production Processes.

A laser is really what I would call a key enabling technology in a lot of manufacturing processes. Essentially it can provide energy remotely. You can focus that energy down, and you can move it around very quickly, so it's a very flexible form of energy. You can also really easily reconfigure the process, you basically do a change in software rather than a change in hardware to make a different part, or to do a slight change on a part.

We're working on a process where we can directly make a hologram onto the surface of a metal, essentially by very controllably melting the surface of that metal using a laser. This really replaces, what you'll have seen, things with stick on holograms on them, and these are commonly used to verify that the thing that you're buying is really made by whatever company has manufactured it.

There's a lot of interest in applications for anti-counterfeiting in the jewellery industry, also the aerospace industry, for verification and the identification of parts.

One of the really exciting things we've been doing in our micro-processing area is actually looking at a process where we're joining very dissimilar materials, basically welding glass and metal together, welding an optical material to a structural material. That's actually really important in a lot of optical applications in manufacturing of lasers or other complex optical devices.