Laser processes at Volvo Aero are automated

Mölndal, Sweden – Permanova Lasersystem AB has received a substantial order from Volvo Aero Corporation (VAC) for a major laser welding and LMD (laser metal deposition) system. This is also an important step for VAC in Trollhättan, Sweden, because it is shifting from manual work to automatic production using robot technology and laser processes.

The processes are laser welding and laser material deposition (to build 3D structures with filler material). At the same time, function-based production is oriented more and more toward flow-based production.

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 Rolls-Royce, Trent XWB. Courtesy: Volvo Aero Corp.

Automation, using robots and lasers as in the automotive industry, is now a goal for the aviation industry. The experience that Permanova  has from laser welding with high uptime requirements is now also advantageous for VAC.

"We believe that our knowledge of laser processes and industrial robots, and a documented ability to manage advanced system projects was crucial for the Volvo Aero Corporation selecting Permanova as a supplier," said Björn Lekander, sales at Permanova.

VAC has developed an advanced LMD technology for building 3D structures, which together with the “normal” laser welding, offers a very efficient lightweight technology. Big expensive cast components, requiring extensive machining, are replaced by smaller components with simpler geometries, which are laser welded and LMD processed. This results in advanced components with the desired specifications, ready to use.

Laser energy from a high power disc laser with up to 6 outputs is sent, via flexible optical fibers, to the laser tools on the robots. An advanced double cell with robots and external positioners can easily be scaled up to meet increased production volumes.

The robots have a long reach and a high payload capacity, but with limited positioning accuracy. This limitation and variations in joint geometry are taken care of by the seam finding feature in the Permanova laser welding tools.

Permanova Lasersystem AB is a Swedish integrator of robotized laser systems for metal processing, mainly for welding, 3D cutting, brazing, cladding and marking with lasers to improve productivity, product quality, and profitability for its customers.

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