Conventional sheet metal processes such as shear cutting or forming often come up against their limits when used to machine high-performance materials. It is difficult to achieve perfect cutting edges or high forming degrees on high-strength steel, titanium or aluminum sheets. New production technologies are required in order to meet the increasingly exacting quality requirements.
Laser-assisted sheet metal processing for critical component areas
The Fraunhofer IPT uses a high-performance laser to support sheet metal processing: The laser technology is integrated into transfer or progressive die tools in order to heat specific areas of high-strength sheet metal locally and quickly before processing. This makes it much easier to form or cut the materials in critical component areas. Conventional machine and tool technologies achieve higher cutting qualities and degrees of deformation when they are laser-assisted.
Efficient sheet metal processing in progressive dies
Previous research results on shear cutting show that localized heating can achieve 100 percent clear cut surface ratio. The cutting forces are up to 70 percent below those of the conventional cold process. For flange forming operations, the expansion ratios can be doubled. Localized laser heating also offers advantages in bending, embossing and deep drawing: The smallest bending radii as well as large drawing and embossing depths were achieved with a high-strength spring steel. With suitable temperature control for the material in hand, locally hardened sheet metal components can also be produced in progressive dies.
Customized solutions for sheet metal processing
The Fraunhofer IPT develops local laser heating processes suitable for series production for your individual sheet metal components and materials. In addition to a wealth of in-depth know-how in laser system technology acquired, sheet metal processing and materials technology, modern laser systems and press technology are available for feasibility tests up to pilot series production in accordance with current industrial standards. Metallographic material analyses complete the range of services.
- Feasibility tests for your specific components and sheet materials
- Determination of optimum heating parameters for defined machining qualities
- Analysis of the influence of local laser heating processes on the mechanical-technological properties of components
- Economic feasibility studies into the integration of laser systems into sheet metal working processes
- Pilot production runs taking account of process stability
- Metallographic material analyses