Remote laser cutting of sheet metal with highly brilliant beam sources

Aachen, Germany – Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT) will show, at the April Hannover Fair, a flexible system concept for laser cutting, welding, structuring and inscribing processes. Because of its high flexibility with regard to component geometry this system is suitable for the production of prototypes and small production runs.

At the show ILT engineers will demonstrate cutting 0.2 mm-thick steel sheets in seconds using a 1 kW single mode fiber laser and a mirror scanner. This unit can also machine components in the millimeter range at cycle times of less than 100 ms, a processing time achieved by eliminating mechanical movement axes with beam movement performed by mirrors mounted on high dynamic galvanometer drives. Cuts of 20 µm are achieved with suitable optical systems, so that precision parts, such as stator sheets for electric motors, can be processed rapidly and accurately.

Remote laser fine cutting is a means to save costs in the production of prototypes and small series, because it offers greater flexibility and freedom with regard to component geometry than conventional methods such as milling or punching and expensive tool changes are not required. 


Remote laser cutting

Source: Fraunhofer ILT

Combined punching-bending processes are a good example. In this case, the punch geometry must first be iteratively matched to the bending process. In conventional production methods the manufacture and adaptation of the punching tools entails high costs and long waiting times. Remote laser cutting offers the advantage that the component geometry can be optimized, within a very short time and at virtually no cost, to achieve the desired shape. In contrast to conventional punching systems, the laser unit is ready to use straightaway as there are no long lead times. Remote laser cutting shortens development times and increases process flexibility while reducing costs.

Lead frame produced by remote laser cutting

Source: Fraunhofer ILT

Engineers at ILT can assemble an installation that matches the needs of a specific process by combining predefined modules. A suitable optical system with matching laser beam source is integrated in a machine housing and, if necessary, fitted with additional sensors or a clamping device. The system can also be used for inscribing, plastic welding, microstructuring, remote laser cutting and metal welding.

For additional information contact Dr.-Ing. Jens Holtkamp at Fraunhofer ILT,  

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