Air Liquide has received the 2005 Gases and Technology Product Innovation Award (Gassy) for its BIFOCAL technology.

The award in the optoelectronics/laser- category was presented to Air Liquide by the editors of Gases and Technology magazine at Semicon West 2005 in San Francisco, US.

Pascal Vinet, president of Air Liquide Industrial U.S. LP, said: \\$quot;We're extremely pleased to be recognised for BIFOCAL. This innovation creates outstanding value for our customers by maximising productivity and quality while minimising cutting production costs.”

It is estimated that there are more than 4000 facilities in the U.S. using lasers. These facilities serve a wide range of manufacturing operations from electronics and telecom to transportation and aerospace.

Air Liquide has transformed laser technology with the introduction of BIFOCAL, its dual-focusing laser cutting technology that improves cutting speed, efficiency and quality resulting in increased productivity and manufacturing cost reduction.

The dual-focusing capabilities of BIFOCAL patented technology has peaked the interest of the laser technology community as well as standard focusing lens users. Unlike a single-focal point lens, BIFOCAL's proprietary lens design creates two focal points for the laser beam - one focal point is positioned near the bottom of the material and a second is focused near the top surface.

The first focal point allows for a high concentration of power density to be directed towards the bottom of the work piece, effectively reducing dross formation and the need for edge clean up after laser cutting. The second focal point generates another high power density concentration near the top surface, thus maintaining high cutting speeds.

BIFOCAL technology yields a more efficient distribution of focused beam power density across the thickness of the material being cut. It results in better gas consumption efficiency, higher cutting speed and better edge quality.

BIFOCAL technology is brought to market by Air Liquide through its ALTEC worldwide technical network.

For further information:
Air Liquide