09 Sep 2022
BrightLine Scan tech improves robustness, smooths seams; Eco Cooler is a cooling solution based on water rather than problem gases.Trumpf is to launch a new system at next month’s EuroBLECH 2022 (Hannover, Germany, 25-28 October) to improve the quality and robustness of laser welding.
Currently, says the laser tech giant, the only way to guide a laser beam during welding is via a welding robot – but Trumpf’s new BrightLine Scan is designed to allow users to guide the beam with the laser scanner.
This combination of robot and scanner will make it possible to supplement the forward motion of the robot with a further, freely programmable movement of the laser in any desired direction.
This “oscillating motion” is facilitated by the use of specially developed lightweight mirrors. By enabling scan frequencies in the kilohertz range, this new technique doubles the thickness of sheets that can be processed in heat conduction welding, upping it from 3mm to 6mm.
The new technology allows users to tailor the parts’ bonding surfaces – which are melted directly by the laser beam – to suit each particular application. This makes for a more reliable process and results in higher quality parts.
“BrightLine Scan is another example of our determination to offer industry-relevant solutions by focusing on the needs of sheet-metal fabricators. Tighter tolerances in the welding process mean less scrap, faster processing and lower costs,” said Trumpf product manager Martin Geiger.
The task of guiding the laser beam via the laser scanner in BrightLine Scan is performed by Trumpf’s programmable PFO 20 focusing optics, which are integrated into the robot’s welding optics. Guiding the beam using a combination of the robot and scanner provides a major boost to the robustness and flexibility of the laser welding process.
“Previously, we had to position the laser beam right over the seam to ensure a high-quality weld. If you deviated from the right spot by a millimeter, or even less, the part often had to be scrapped. But now that the beam can also be guided via the scanner, it’s easier to achieve tighter tolerances. That makes it possible to correct any minor inaccuracies that creep in during previous steps such as bending,” said Geiger.
The new technology offers a solution for welding sheets up to 6mm thick, which makes it particularly suitable for agricultural and construction machinery. The high precision and quality of the seams also makes it an efficient choice for manufacturing furniture products, EV battery trays, and electrical cabinets.
Also at the EuroBLECH show, Trumpf will present its Eco Cooler, a sustainable cooling solution for laser-cutting machines. Conventional cooling systems use fluorinated gases – also known as F-gases – as a coolant. This has several disadvantages: the cooling process consumes a lot of energy, and disposal of these F-gases places a burdens on the environment.
By contrast, the Eco Cooler uses pure water as a coolant. As a result, it uses up to 80 percent less energy for refrigeration and dispenses entirely with harmful substances. To date, the solution is unique in the sheet-metal industry.
Stephan Mayer, CEO for machine tools at Trumpf, commented, “To ensure their operations remain viable, sheet-metal processors should be shifting to climate- and eco-friendly technologies.
“We see an opportunity here to improve the environmental footprint of the industry as a whole and to drive down costs at the same time.” The Eco Cooler was developed by Trumpf in partnership with Efficient Energy, a company that describes itself as a “clean tech pioneer for sustainable refrigeration technology. Following the EuroBLECH trade show, this solution will be available for Trumpf laser-cutting machines from the 1000 to 5000 series.