FLAT - Plug in laser diode module for warm sheet metal forming

Pablo Romero introduces us to the FLAT project.

Diode module with multiple emitters
© monocrom

Diode module with multiple emitters

Challenge

Enabler of this technology is the integration of a vibration resistant laser diode module directly into a sheet forming machine. It has to deliver 1 kW of power on 1 cm² using direct regular water cooling for operation from 10ºC to 40ºC which will lead to a reduction of forces in roll forming by 50%. The assessment aims at implementing a totally spring-back-free process with 100% geometric certainty after forming.

Benefit

For the user, the application of laser-assisted technology in roll forming provides a way of improving the flexibility in the design of products. It enables a reduction of required mechanical efforts and breakages, and the capability to handle work pieces with higher strengths and thicknesses with the same machine. In combination with an increase in the maximum forming speed, all these enhancements contribute to an increase in productivity.

In relation to the tracks, the results of the project will allow cost-competitive high-volume production of moderately complex applications. This covers a huge portion of the global market with over one million parts per year. The expected ability to produce compact profiles however enables new comfort designs for the high-end markets. A successful application would open a new and unique market as the new comfort designs cannot be produced with existing technology.

Achievement

FLAT now offers a higher power density as well as a very advanced control electronic package, including communication, closed loop control, safety and fail-safe features. As a first-grade industrial prototype, the system contains the innovative optical and mechanical design, including beam-forming optics. FLAT has improved in process performance and contributes to an eco-friendly production. Formability has improved, achieving lower spring back while nearly eliminating the cracking risks. The integration into the existing manufacturing facility works successfully. A 3D-model of roll forming line, of the envisaged integration package outline, and a strategy to replace roll forming stations with modular laser heating stations are available. The manufacturing process improves the flexibility in design of product as well as both, reduction of required mechanical efforts and, reduction of breakages. Even more, the product can handle higher strengths and thicknesses with the same machine . That way, maximum forming speed increases as does productivity, resulting in cost-competitiv high-volume products. For end users MONOCROM and Johnson Controls.

LEA Partners

Supplier User Research Partner