The ultra-short pulse laser is seeing ever wider acceptance among industrial users as a tool for precision manufacturing. In particular, these advances are due to new developments or technological progress in system technology, which increase productivity considerably. Increasing productivity significantly was also the goal of a team from industry and research, which was awarded the Science Prize of the Stifterverband for Collaborative Research at the annual conference of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft on October 9, 2020. The team has developed a technology in which a laser beam is split into up to 16 partial beams. That means there are 16 tools controlled in parallel and individually to produce functional surfaces.
From medical technology and hybrid joints for lightweight applications to battery and fuel cell production for the future of mobility: Scientists from the Micro Joining Group at Fraunhofer ILT are developing a wide range of joining techniques for various applications. Here, laser technology allows high-precision welding with minimal thermal stress and the generation of the smallest seam structures. Fraunhofer ILT possesses cutting-edge equipment and a spectrum of different laser beam sources to develop customized solutions for industry and science.
Currently used materials in Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) processes are alloys, designed for conventional manufacturing processes. However, this does not allow the advantages of the unique properties of the LPBF process to be fully exploited. New alloys need therefore be developed under LPBF conditions, which currently requires multiple costly and time consuming manufacturing cycles of powder material.
To meet these challenges, scientists from Fraunhofer ILT have developed the miniaturized and modular process chamber “PETIT”. It allows the processing of material samples with significantly reduced powder material with less than 40 cl, making rapid alloy development feasible. By integrating PETIT into existing LPBF systems to use their optical and laser systems, a fast screening of different alloy compositions with high transferability to industrial scale processes is possible.
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