Event spotlight Fraunhofer ILT to introduce 5 groundbreaking developments

| Editor: Ahlam Rais

The five specialised technologies include Combi-Processing: Cutting - Welding – Additive, Laser Heat Treatment, Laser Beam High-Speed Cutting, Laser Beam Welding, and Laser Processing of FRP and FRP-Metal-Hybrid material.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT has always been at the forefront of innovation.
The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT has always been at the forefront of innovation.
(Source: Fraunhofer ILT)

Euroblech, the international sheet metal working technology exhibition will be held at Hannover in Germany. The event is sure to leave industry players spellbound with its display of numerous cutting-edge technologies. The core topics for this year’s trade fair are digitalisation and Industry 4.0. To understand and take this concept ahead the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT that has always been at the forefront of innovation will be exhibiting five groundbreaking developments – Combi-Processing: Cutting - Welding – Additive, Laser Heat Treatment, Laser Beam High-Speed Cutting, Laser Beam Welding, and Laser Processing of FRP and FRP-Metal-Hybrid material for the sheet metal processing industry. This involves everything from hybrid lightweight construction to multifunctional laser robots with an integrated digital twin . In other words, the developments focus on the most contemporary trends in the sheet metal working industry of today.

MultiPROmobil project

The company’s booth will showcase the lighthouse project MultiPROmobil, an NRW-funded assignment which is also being coordinated by Fraunhofer ILT. Under this project, a robot and a multifunctional laser processing head will be designed to enable clever interaction and integrate cutting, welding and generating of structures additively. This will also be supported by a digital twin as well as intelligent design and simulation software. With the assistance of this project, the stakeholders aim to reduce commissioning time by 30 per cent and unit costs as well as resource consumption by at least 20 per cent. The project is expected to be launched in October.

Flexible high-speed cutting process

In addition to this, the flexible high-speed cutting process for metal strips will also be displayed at Euroblech 2018. With the aid of this process, Honda was able to replace its previous punching process by this extremely fast laser cutting process which offered a speed of up to 115 m/min at its plant in Yorii, Japan. Through this, Honda achieved an output of 18,700 car body parts per day since introducing the laser blanking system in 2015. The institute aims at showcasing the next step towards a very fast cutting process for differentiated rolled strips with partially different properties. For the development of this process, Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology is working together with Bilstein & Co. in Hagen, Germany.

Laser welding processes

Next in line is another project that highlights the lightweight construction trend towards ultra high-strength steels. At the show, a laser-designed bumper module – the demonstrator will be used to demonstrate how different high- and ultra-high-strength materials can be laser-welded in a hybrid construction. Funded by the German Federation of Industrial Research Associations (AiF) and supported by Fosta (Forschungsvereinigung Stahlanwendung e.V.) within the scope of FAAM (short for Further development, joining technology validation and technical design of welded joints with martensitic chromium steels), Fraunhofer ILT and its partners are developing and testing laser welding processes on various components.

Laser heat treatment

Apart from this, Fraunhofer ILT will also be exhibiting how by adapting the beam profile with the aid of a freeform mirror, areas and zones can be selectively and locally processed in order to generate defined strength profiles. In order to make laser heat treatment reliable and cost-effective with short cycle times, the Aachen scientists are working with significantly higher feed rates.

Laser processing

Lastly, a roof bow created as part of the BMBF project HyBriLight will also be presented at the event. The new roof bow version comprises a material mix of GFRP, CFRP and metal which demonstrates the versatility of laser processing for joining and cutting complex components.

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