Large-area laser structuring using a more efficient production system
Project start: July 2016
Project end: June 2019
Laser structuring enables repeatable marking and engraving of complex 3D geometries. In contrast to conventional surface machining, laser structuring offers financial, ecological and artistic advantages. The laser system requires frequent repositioning during the production process. The positioning must be extremely accurate. This places high demands on the systems engineering, which grows disproportionately as the size of the workpiece increases. Laser structuring systems are therefore extremely cost-intensive for very large shapes (such as, for example, car dashboards). The technologically effective laser module accounts for only a very small proportion of the costs. As part of the RoboTex project, a cost-effective industrial robot has been used for the first time for large-area laser structuring. Intelligent methods compensate the inaccuracies of the robot that are caused be system constraints. Removing the need for additional cost and maintenance intensive technology for improving the accuracy of the robot enables the development of an extremely robust and cost-effective large-area laser system. The investment costs for such a system are approximately only 20% of the costs of a conventional system. ModuleWorks’ role in the project is to integrate the toolpath calculation software into the CAX process chain. The toolpath calculations required for driving an industrial robot, which are being used for the first time on the control system, are integrated into the ModuleWorks core system. This enables a technology transfer to users outside the consortium.