Stuttgart, Germany – Three of many exhibitors at LASYS 2012 explained recently how their lasers and laser systems are capable of providing efficiency thanks to their flexibility, performance, and quality of work. At this international trade fair for laser material processing that takes place from June 12 to 14, weil engineering, SITEC, and Laserline will be presenting state of the art technology and products.
Weil engineering, for instance, offers modular concepts for component-based solutions such as the fully automated, highly flexible manufacturing cell "Flexistar" for forming and welding pipes.
"The special thing about the system is that neither retrofitting nor mechanical adjustment is necessary," explained Jochen Siegwarth, responsible for projects and developments at weil. After each forming and welding procedure, Flexistar can automatically change the diameter independently of cycle time. "This allows for the program-controlled production of any pipe diameter or length, starting from a batch size of one, in the dimensions specified according to the machine," Siegwarth added.
The high flexibility also contributes to shorter delivery cycles. According to the manufacturer, it has already been proven that with Flexistar production is six times faster than using welding benches, the traditional method for welding pipes. EMK Allstedt, a user of this technology, confirms that production has become more cost effective. The CO2 laser welds materials such as steel and stainless steel, as well as galvanized and hot-dip aluminized sheets. The pipes are used in ventilation, chimneys, exhaust and fire protection technology, as well as drinking water and firefighting technology.
As a developer and manufacturer of custom laser machines, SITEC has also long recognized the great importance of flexibility for today's laser-based manufacturing processes.
"The challenge of efficient production is the mutability of the equipment," said Dr. Jörg Lässig, managing director. With the LS machine series, the company has developed a compact laser tool for welding, cutting, hardening, drilling, and structuring, which is noteworthy for its user-oriented, standardized machine concept.
The basic configuration of the LS is defined by its combination of size, axis arrangement and the choice of laser beam sources and process optics. The machine configuration is topped off by procedure-specific and efficiency-enhancing features such as the Precision Package, which, according to the manufacturer, ensures extremely high positioning accuracy of ±2 micrometers.
"The road to process reliability within efficient production, however, always involves holistic views of the technological chain: from material selection to seam geometry and optical design, as well as process design and quality assurance. New laser beam sources are constantly expanding the frontiers of laser technology," added Dr. Lässig.
An excellent example of an innovative, efficient laser beam source is the diode laser. "It is by far the most efficient laser because the conversion of electricity into light is very efficient, the investment and operating costs are low, and it's especially reliable in industrial series production," explained Dr. Andre Eltze, European sales manager at Laserline.
For instance, diode lasers are used in automobile manufacturing for welding aluminum parts – with the aim of making the vehicle lighter and thus more efficient. According to Dr. Eltze, diode lasers are particularly well-suited for such processes due to their slightly shorter wavelengths since they provide optimal laser beam absorption.
"We're exhibiting at LASYS 2012 in order to maintain existing customer contacts and gain new customers for our diode lasers," affirmed Eltze.