The Innovation Award Laser Technology 2008 awarded to Daimler Dipl.-Ing

Dipl.-Ing. Bertold Hopf, Daimler AG, has won the Innovation Award Laser Technology 2008 as representative of the RobScan project team. RobScan (robot-guided remote scanner) for laser beam welding is a new process developed for vehicle body construction by Hopf, Dr. Klaus Debschütz, and their project team within Daimler AG. Hopf was awarded the 10,000 Euro prize on May 8 in Aachen, Germany's town hall.

The Innovation Award Laser Technology is a European research prize awarded by the associations Arbeitskreis Lasertechnik e.V. and the European Laser Institute (ELI). The award can be conferred on an individual researcher or on an entire project group whose exceptional skills and dedicated work have led to an outstanding innovation in the field of laser technology.

The scientific and technological projects in question must center on the use of laser light in materials processing and the methods of producing such light, and must furthermore be of demonstrable commercial value to industry.

The innovation of the RobScan system is the combination of different hardware components and the Daimler-developed process technology and control software. It uses the known advantages of laser welding and extends them with new possibilities in process technology and a new control system to utilize all the possibilities of the remote scanner.

It was thus possible to increase the welding speed and improve the welding quality. The RobScan process combines the high speed and precision of scanner optics with the flexibility of a robot. The commercial value to the automotive industry has been convincingly demonstrated.

Dipl.-Ing. Bertold Hopf is head of material and production in the Technology Department of Daimler AG in Sindelfingen. Dr. Klaus Debschütz is head of materials, manufacturing, concepts – body of Daimler´s Group Research in Ulm.

Prof. Reinhart Poprawe, VP of the association Arbeitskreis Lasertechnik AKL e.V. and director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, pointed out the dedicated work of the RobScan project team and the outstanding innovation in the field of laser technology.

The international jury selected on a basis of merit and according to the published assessment criteria (see www.innovation-award-laser.org) three innovation teams out of 15 applications as finalists. The other two finalists were:

- RAPID: High-power, high-repetition-rate picosecond (ps) laser for industrial high-end micromachining (team representative: Dr. Achim Nebel, Managing director, LUMERA LASER GmbH, Kaiserslautern)

- Ultrafast Laser for Efficient Industrial Micromachining (team representative: Dr. Dirk Sutter, Senior Scientist, Advanced R&D and Product Development Manager, TRUMPF Laser GmbH + Co. KG, Schramberg)

All 3 applications have led to an outstanding innovation in the field of laser technology and are presented in detail on www.innovation-award-laser.org.

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