Conference on Lasers in Manufacturing (LiM)
Carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) are of high interest for lightweight construction within many industrial sectors. The automotive industry shows already an increasing demand for CFRP parts, but the implementation of CFRP parts is limited by the lack of automatable, reliable and cost efficient processes. In the field of laser cutting of CFRP materials, there are also different scientific approaches such as the use of nanosecond lasers with high average power. At this point, the German research project HolQueSt 3D starts dealing with 3-dimensional high power laser processing of lightweight CFRP structures in enhancing quality and quantity. Within this paper, the authors will describe the first results achieved with a newly developed fibre-guided high power nanosecond laser. The laser emits at a wavelength of λ = 1030 nm with a pulse duration of tp = 30 ns. The laser has an average power of Pavg = 1.5 kW with a maximum pulse energy of Ep,max = 80 mJ. The laser beam was deflected by a 3D programmable focusing optic with a focal length of lf = 255 mm. CFRP based on an epoxy resin with two different reinforcements was used for the investigations. The gained results were analysed concerning the achieved heat affected zone and the optical quality of the cutting edges. The average HAZ width b could be minimized to a value below b <40 μm for both materials. Furthermore, the maximum effective cutting velocity for selected laser parameters was determined. The maximum effective cutting speed achieved within this investigation is veff = 1.8 m/min. The results of the investigation revealed the potential of the fibre-guided nanosecond laser for industrial applications. This is in particular the case for 3D applications due to the possibility of robot based remote processes.