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Jenoptik launches Votan A+ laser machine for precise laser airbag weakening

20 Jan 2022

Targeting the auto-manufacturing sector, costs for J-Votan A+ machine cut by 30% and unit footprint by 13m2.

Jenoptik has launched a new Votan laser processing machine targeting the auto manufacturing sector. With the Votan A+, a modular standard version complements the existing portfolio of customized machines for precise laser airbag weakening.

The target market, such as automotive suppliers, could benefit from laser material processing with significant advantages in terms of cost, size and delivery time. The costs for Jenoptik’s Votan A+ machine are reduced by up to 30 percent compared to a classic system. Furthermore, it requires 13 square meters less floor space on the factory floor and is delivered one month faster, the company states.

In its launch statement, Jenoptik adds, “Every third car manufactured worldwide has an invisible tear line for the passenger airbag in its instrument panel – produced with a Votan-A system.”

Cutting invisible weakening lines

The sharply focused laser beam of a Votan A system cuts each individual hole of the invisible weakening line precisely into the material until reaching the minimum residual wall thickness. A sensor unit uses the transmitted laser radiation to ensure that the tear line corresponds one hundred percent to the preset parameters.

The surface material of the workpiece is retained in full quality. The control loop ensures that the predetermined breaking point tears open cleanly when an airbag is triggered – as planned by the engineers. With the help of digitized process monitoring, the exact execution for each individual hole of the laser airbag weakening can be traced and proven.

“Other processes cut or mill the tear lines and cannot react as quickly to tool or material variations during processing. In addition, in these cases, the workpieces become contaminated by splinters and have to be cleaned with compressed air in a further process step,” said Carsten Keim, head of sales and product management in Jenoptik’s laser material processing business.

“Votan A systems work precisely, quickly and cleanly. Since lasers also operate wear-free, they are often in use for up to three life cycles, or about 18 years. In the long term, this brings an enormous cost advantage. The Votan A+ machine enables entry into using laser technology for invisible airbag scoring at an attractive price.”

Sebastian Dienert, product manager of the Jenoptik-Votan A product group, commented, “With almost 30 years of product experience and more than 350 Votan A machines in the market worldwide, we compared our Votan A product group with the current and future requirements of the market in a process of continuous improvement.”

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