EU project CLAiM begins with Turkey workshop

Hannover, Germany – The goal of a new European consortium with six partners from research and industry is to perfect a laser-stabilized plasma welding process. About 50 interested enterprises came to the one-day, start-up workshop for the CLAiM project in Turkey, and attentively followed the lectures on the planned optimizations for welding thin metal sheets.

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Interested participants at the first CLAiM Workshop in Turkey.

There is a clear trend in both the transport and the automobile industries toward lightweight construction using high-strength sheets made of stainless steel and aluminum. SMEs (small and middle sized enterprises) especially are interested in fast manufacturing processes without quality losses to maintain a highly competitive position on the market. For this reason, the goal of the project CLAiM (customized laser-aided plasma arc welding of light alloys and steels) is to shorten the processing time for established plasma welding processes and at the same time to significantly increase welding seam quality.

The basic idea is to use a laser-stabilized welding process, such as a similar process with excellent results for light arc welding. Combining a laser with 400 W output and a plasma welding source can bring about a 50% increase in the maximum welding speed. This would not only reduce the heat input into the metal sheet, but also significantly improve the weld seam quality. A further aim of the project is to achieve a 30% increase in the welding depth.

The project was introduced to about 50 participating enterprises at the first CLAiM workshop in Turkey this spring. At the workshop, the German firm Merkle presented the necessary welding system. The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) explained the process idea. The Spanish partner Tecnalia explained the welding process control concept. Also, the Turkish companies at the workshop were informed of the possibilities of participating in EU projects and in funding further initiatives for cooperation with German partners. Professor Arif Demir, VP of the university of Kocaeli, hosted the workshop.

An important goal of CLAiM is to strengthen the position of SMEs on the market by providing a significantly improved welding process for sheet metals with low investment costs.

"The high number of SMEs participating in the workshop was great for a kick-off meeting," says Jörg Hermsdorf from the LZH. "By starting with close cooperation with small and middle sized enterprises, we can expect a quicker transfer of the project results to the target group."

In the project CLAiM, two European research institutes and four industrial enterprises will be working together until September 2012: Tecnalia Automotive and Taller de Modelos y Troqueles, S.L. (Spain), Form Engineering Ltd. (Turkey); Laser-Tech (Czech Republic); and Merkle Schweißanlagen-Technik and the Laser Zentrum Hannover (Germany). The research and development activities are financially supported by the 7th framework program of the EU. Project management is carried out by the REA-Research Executive Agency htpp://ec.europa.eu/research/rea    [FP7/2007-2013] [FP7/2011-2013], proposal n° [262449].

The LZH carries out research and development in the field of laser technology and is supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Transport of the State of Lower Saxony (Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Verkehr).

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