Lasers are used today in a wide variety of industrial applications in order to further optimize production processes and guarantee high workpiece quality. Laser machining processes can as well be significantly improved by high-frequency oscillation of the laser beam in the XY plane. Increasing requirements in industry, however, demand not only a fast motion in the plane, but also a fast active vertical shift of the beam energy in the workpiece, e.g. to further increase the usable feed rate during laser beam cutting of thick sheet metal or to enable better weld seam quality and process stability during laser beam welding. With a new Z axis focus shifter module, it is possible to extend the conventional methods and also 2-D beam manipulation in the XY machining plane by a highly dynamic movement in the direction of the beam axis, thereby increasing the machining speed and improving the machining quality.