Tuesday, 17. October 2017
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Fit for series production


Automated processing of 3D components


More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). In the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

 - On the way to series production: 3D CFRP processing
On the way to series production: 3D CFRP processing

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has developed processes for cutting three-dimensional components, using an actual component from the automotive branch. The process uses a newly developed high-power disc laser, with a pulse duration of tp = 30 ns and a maximum average output power of PL = 1500 W.

An industry partner has developed clamping devices which are adapted to the special features of laser material processing. An exhaust system to capture the process emissions is directly integrated in the clamping unit. Participating companies have investigated the influence of laser processing on the characteristics of the component as well as on the subsequent processes. „Repairing three-dimensional CFRP components is presently very time-consuming and costly,” explains Sven Blümel, project manager from the Composites Group at the LZH. “We can now scarf components with curved surfaces with short process times, as a preparation for repair. Subsequently, the scarfed areas are closed with a so-called patch, an accurately fitting replacement part. This is an important step in increasing the lifetime of CFRP body parts.” This concept for the following repair steps was developed by the Institute of Polymer Materials and Plastics Engineering (PuK) of the Clausthal University of Technology.

Emissions from standard processes must be known and controllable, in order to ensure a safe workplace. This is why the Safety Technology Group of the LZH has investigated the emissions from the cutting and scarfing processes. Based on the composition of the process emissions, a partner has developed a completely regenerative, continuously working, exhaust cleaning system that does not need additional filter material.