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In this paper, a machine vision-based system is used for monitoring and characterization of the effect of swirling gas jet assisted laser percussion drilling. Feasibility of laser percussion drilling on highly reflective materials, i.e., Al5052 with the implementation of assisting swirling gas jet, was explored. The influence of the gas jet type on the mechanism of material removal and resulting spatter is reported. The authors conclude that the swirling gas jet method greatly reduces spatter formation around the hole exit during the laser-drilling process. Consequently, in order to understand and monitor the gas jet effects in laser drilling, real-time metrology is employed to observe the details. Compared with the results obtained when using a straight gas jet, laser drilling with a swirling gas jet reduces the drilled hole debris by 0.69 and increases the drilled hole efficiency by a factor of up to 1.5. Experimental results show that both the drilling depth and machining quality can be greatly and simultaneously improved. Effects of the swirling flow on the drilling efficiency and spatter thickness of the holes are investigated.


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