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SCANLAB targets laser welding with Blackbird acquisition

31 Jan 2013

Auto manufacturers looking to use remote laser welding processes could benefit from merger of the two scanning specialists.

Puchheim, Germany, firm SCANLAB, a leading manufacturer of scanning systems used in laser material processing, has acquired Blackbird Robotersysteme, a Garching-based producer of innovative control solutions for robotic laser-welding equipment.

According to SCANLAB, the two companies have been working together since 2009 and offer what it calls the most capable 3D scanning solution currently available for remote laser welding – the “intelliWELD” high-power scan heads controlled by the RobotsyncUnit.

“This merger enables even more rapid expansion of the portfolio of laser fabrication solutions for automakers and industrial producers,” said SCANLAB in a release detailing the development.

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It has been working with BMW on the development of a novel scanning technology for remote laser welding stations that are currently being installed at the auto giant’s Mini pressings facility in Swindon, UK.

The new approach features a mirror that also pivots within the scanning head, meaning that relatively complex welding processes for hang-on parts such as doors can be completed in a single, rapid sweep – rather than requiring several more intricate steps that would slow down the production line.

Following the deal, Blackbird will be able to offer a broader and more powerful selection of scanning packages, and should be able to grow and internationalize its sales and service operations more quickly.

“This merger underscores SCANLAB's aim to also be the remote-welding market's top provider of fast and precise beam positioning,” said the company, adding that Blackbird’s location, business structure and management would remain unchanged following the deal.

Founded in 1990, SCANLAB says that it now delivers more than 15,000 scanning "solutions" each year. The company will also be among the 1200-plus exhibitors at the SPIE Photonics West trade show in San Francisco next week.

LASEROPTIK GmbHUniverse Kogaku America Inc.ABTechHyperion OpticsCHROMA TECHNOLOGY CORP.Optikos Corporation ECOPTIK
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