Jena, Germany - The latest breakthrough in laser welding polymers was shown at IZB, the international suppliers fair in Wolfsburg, Germany (October 10-12, 2012) where Jenoptik's Lasers & Materials Processing Division demonstrated laser welding of chute channels.
Laser technology is an established and recognized method, particularly in the automotive and supply industries when it comes to cutting, welding, and perforating plastic material. The increasing amount of components in the vehicle interior and rising safety demands consistently confront automotive manufacturers with new challenges. New design and production possibilities for vehicle interiors based on these requirements can be realized using laser technology. Jenoptik developed its Votan laser machine for welding chute channels in the instrument panel, an alternative process to achieve the highest esthetic demands and maximum strength. Chute channels is a housing that gives direction and behavior to the airbag when it deploys.
The most common method for welding plastic materials is laser transmission welding. With the help of its own innovative diode lasers, Jenoptik has managed to further develop this laser welding process in an economically expedient manner by integrating a switchable laser line for large components. Using this new process, previous limitations in the processing of larger components can be minimized as the laser line can be adapted to nearly every component size.
One of the greatest benefits of this technology lies in the strength of the welded joint achieving values of up to 90 % of the basic strength of the material. The switchable laser line is moved along the welding area via a linear unit. This enables contactless processing of components with dimensions exceeding the normal scan field of a scanning system, e.g. welding of airbag chute channels in instrument panels or of large car body parts. Moreover, the system equipment excellently supports the assembly of safety-relevant components through nearly 100 % process control.
For further information www.jenoptik.com/lm.
Laser welded chute channel. (Source: Jenoptik)