Laser cutting underwater

Working underwater is personnel and time-intensive. The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH), together with the Institute of Materials Science of the Leibniz Universität Hannover, is therefore working on developing a laser-based process for the automated cutting of sheet piling underwater.

Sheet piling protects fortified shore areas, or it can be used for drying out these areas if repairs are necessary. When the sheet piling is dismantled, divers must cut the walls into smaller pieces using a cutting torch. Normally, a diver can cut about 20 meters a day, which corresponds to a speed of about 0.07 meters per minute. In the project LuWaPro, scientists at the LZH have now developed a process which uses a disc laser for cutting, and the divers thus only carry out a supervisory role. The process can be used to separate the metal sheets, which are usually 10 mm thick for sheet piling, at speeds of up to 0.9 m/min.

The LZH scientists have tested the process together with the project partners and the Laser on Demand GmbH at the Unterwassertechnikum Hannover (UWTH).

Dr.-Ing. Benjamin Emde
Head of Underwater Technology Group
Materials and Processes Department
Phone: +49 511 2788-336