Laser processing is a matter for the head – LZH at the Hannover Messe 2019

The LZH develops individual solutions, such as a mobile laser processing head for rescue operations. (Photo: LZH)

With the internal laser processing head (LZH-IBK), internal cylindrical structures can be roughened. (Photo: TQ-Systems GmbH)

Industry 4.0 requires processes that integrate into existing production environments: customer-specific, system-technical solutions are in demand. By way of selected laser processing heads, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be presenting individual comprehensive solutions for processes and systems for laser material processing at the Hannover Messe 2019.

Deposition welding, notching as well as multi-layer cutting and structuring are laser processes that can be tailored exactly to the specific requirements of the customer or their application. The laser is thus the perfect tool for the manufacturing of tomorrow.

Laser rescue: cutting vehicles quickly and safely
The modern, high-strength materials of a car effectively protect the passengers in accidents; at the same time, they are a challenge for the rescue services: conventional tools take a long time to cut through the materials. The LZH has developed a mobile, hand-held laser processing head in the joint research project "LaserRettung", which is supposed to help rescue services in traffic accidents cut vehicles open in a quick and safe manner. Thus, in the future, a quick rescue of injured persons shall be ensured.

Process control even at high speeds
At high laser material processing speeds of several meters per second, the conventional process control and monitoring reach their limits. The LZH therefore works on a high-speed control, which enables both the remote laser material processing as well as the monitoring and control of the process simultaneously. A so-called double scan head shall be integrated into the control unit, and the highly dynamic control shall process data in clock rates of up to >100 kilohertz.

Damages allowed
In order to defuse unexploded bombs more safely in the future, the LZH and its partners in the DEFLAG project have developed a system with a cost-efficient 3D-printed laser processing head and standard optical components. The system shall be used to notch the bomb casing and deliberately trigger a deflagration. If the system is damaged during operation, the head and components can easily be replaced.

Internal processing head
Novel, lightweight aluminum engines must be coated with a layer of steel to achieve the necessary tribological and strength properties. In order to apply this layer in a cost-efficient way, the LZH has developed an internal laser processing head, the LZH-IBK. This heads makes it possible to roughen internal cylindrical surfaces, such as those in an engine block. It is not necessary to clean the components before roughening and after coating. In addition to the processing head, at the Hannover Messe, the LZH is also showing a W12 cylinder crankcase of an engine block that was structured using this process.

Direction-independent Wire Additive Manufacturing
Direction-independent Additive Manufacturing is possible with the coaxial laser wire processing head developed by the LZH. With this head, complex structures can be built, components can be repaired and coated, and structures can be attached to components. The laser beam is guided coaxially to the wire-shaped deposition material; the filler material can be fed here either cold or conductively heated by means of electricity. This significantly increases the energy efficiency of the process and makes it possible to use more cost-effective laser beam sources. An axis system or articulated robot moves the laser head during the process.

In addition to laser material processing, the LZH also pursues creative and customer-specific approaches in other areas. From components for optical applications to the finished process or to the construction of pilot plants, the work of the LZH is distinguished by expertise and innovative, individual solutions.

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Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH)

As an independent, non-profit research institute, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) stands for innovative research, development and consulting. The LZH is supported by the Niedersachsen Ministry of Economic Affairs, Employment, Transport and Digitalisation and is dedicated to the selfless promotion of applied research in the field of photonics and laser technology. Founded in 1986, over 170 employees are now working for the LZH.

The focus of the LZH lies on the fields of optical components and systems, optical production technologies, and biomedical photonics. Interdisciplinary cooperation between natural scientists and mechanical engineers makes innovative approaches to challenges from the most different areas possible: from the development of components for specific laser systems to process developments for the most diverse laser applications, for example for medical technology or lightweight construction in the automotive sector. Eighteen spin off companies have emerged from the LZH up to now. Thus, the LZH has created a strong transfer between fundamental sciences, application oriented research, and industry.