In today’s resource-scarce world efficiency is the key to economic success. Competition, mainly from south-east Asia, is intensifying as ever more companies entering the global playing field. Remaining competitive requires European companies to increase their productivity, especially in fast-changing industries.
LASHARE offers a tool, which combines traditional roll forming and innovative laser technology, that even makes the processing of very complex and sophisticated materials, such as Advanced ultra-High Strength Steels (AHSS), an easy task.
Roll forming is the process of bending a sheet metal strip by roller dies into a desired constant cross sectional profile. The metal workpiece runs through a process of laser-induced heating and a roller-based forming routine. All laser components are specially designed to fit into a conventional roll forming unit.
The problem of conventional roll forming is, that it is either prone to cracking (cold forming) or very inefficient (hot forming), because the entire work piece has to be heated up. Laser-assisted forming, however, is a very efficient tool that allows on-the-spot-heating, and can thus save huge amounts of energy. Highforming speed and the ability to handle small and bulky workpieces contribute to a significant rise in productivity.
The processing of very complex materials absorbs large amounts of energy and is prone to spring-back and cracking, making them extremely difficult to process by bending. Many high-strength steels are sensitive to high temperatures, so heating must be done with a very controlled and reliable power source. Laser sources are perfect candidates to perform this task but the peculiar environment of a roll forming line challenges the laser-heating equipment design, which is currently developed in this assessment: