Integrating laser modules into existing production processes

Fast and precise cutting, hardening, welding, structuring, forming or marking

When conventional manufacturing technologies reach their performance limits, industry currently tends to rely on laser processing. The advantages are obvious: The laser beam as a tool is virtually wear-free, can be individually adapted to match the requirements of the processes and materials concerned and it can be precisely controlled.

Process development for flexible production

The Fraunhofer IPT has specialized in using industrially available laser technology and enhancing it individually for integration within existing production chains and processes. The laser systems are integrated into the production chains in terms of mechanical design and control. The hybrid processes are then optimized to meet the customer's requirements. The individual process design allows companies to structure their production flexibly and to adapt it swiftly and easily to suit different product variants. The Fraunhofer IPT supports companies with the profound understanding of processes and technology which is required for laser systems to be used optimally and profitably in manufacturing.

The laser beam as a tool

The integration of a laser module into existing manufacturing processes allows for hybrid processes and locally discrete processing. We also use laser technology to process high-performance materials. This enables us to process high-performance materials such as hard metals or fiber-reinforced composites with virtually no tool wear.

Our services

  • Developing customer-specific laser modules  (Safety: laser class 1)
  • Conducting preliminary tests for process design
  • Carrying out feasibility analyses and economic feasibility studies of laser processes
  • Process development and process investigation
  • Providing expert advice on the selection of laser systems
  • Developing laser safety concepts
  • Documenting knowledge and employee training

Application examples

Laser marking

Laser systems offer an attractive alternative to printing processes. We integrate laser marking modules into existing production processes to enable products and materials to be marked quickly and precisely inline. This eliminates costs for additional materials such as labels and ink as well as additional process steps and the products can be marked flexibly.

 

PROJECT EXAMPLE

For a manufacturer of cables and cabling systems, we developed a laser module for marking electrical cables for direct use in the production line. Our system solution guarantees process reliability and continuous marking at high throughput speeds of several meters per second.

Micro Spot Cladding

The localized application of micro dots improves the wear resistance of electrical contact points and saves material. Instead of coating the entire component, we can use a laser beam to apply precious metals such as gold in areas of just a few 100 µm precisely and wafer-thinly.

 

PROJECT EXAMPLE

In the "MicroSpotCladding" project, a system was developed that applies thin gold dots as electrical contacts to stamped components.

Laser hardening

Laser application is particularly suitable for the targeted hardening of partial areas of the workpiece and makes workpiece processing energy-efficient, fast and precise. Since only the areas of the component surface to be hardened are heated by laser radiation, short cycle times can be achieved with minimum energy input.

 

PROJECT EXAMPLE

In the "EcoHardSteel" project, an energy and cost-efficient alternative to hardening sheet metals in conventional furnace processes is being developed. The use of lasers should make it possible to produce components with mechanical properties that are locally adapted to the load.