Cailabs, French deep tech company and global leader in light beam shaping, joined the laser research project Custodian, a consortium involving 10 industrial laser solution-focused entities, for developing new, disruptive methodology for laser-based manufacturing applications.
New, disruptive methodology
Continuous-wave (CW) high-power lasers are widely used in the automotive, aerospace and energy industries as well as the medical sector for metal-sheet welding or cutting and for metal additive manufacturing. They bring great benefits to manufacturing such as higher efficiency and speed. However, high-power concentration generates very fast cooling rates and brittle structures, such as hot cracking.
The idea behind the project is to create application-driven methodology for optimizing laser-focused material processes based on adapted multiphysics simulations, tailored beam shaping and refined process control. Bearing in mind current industrial applications, certain material simulations will determine optimal laser beam shape as well as process parameters to solve hot-cracking for LBW (Laser Beam Welding) and SLM (Selective Laser Melting).
Custodian involves ten industrial laser solution-focused entities1 for developing new, disruptive methodology for laser-based manufacturing applications, including automotive, energy and the aerospace sector.
Four academic partners are part of the consortium. AIMEN, which leads the actual LBW process experimental-testing setting and AIDIMME, which is in charge of the SLM side. Politecnico di Milano and TU Wien will lead the metallurgical studies and multiphysics simulations.
The actual laser-based system development will be led by high-tech SMEs, with Cailabs responsible for tailored beam shaping, Precitec for laser head development and NIT for monitoring.
Last but not least, two major industry players are participating to make sure development is perfectly in line with their needs. Targeted industries are the automotive sector with Magnetti Marelli and the energy and aerospace sector with GFM. Both companies will ensure project results are widely rolled out.
Secpho will handle project communication.
Cailabs’ role in the Custodian project
Cailabs is in charge of beam shaping for both LBW and SLM applications. Given Cailabs’ indepth experience in handling very high-power multi kW lasers for tailored beam shaping, it shapes laser light and is involved in shaping it optimally to meet specific process requirements. The key challenge is to ensure the LBW setup fits by getting the beam shaper into the Precitec standard laser head so as to be compatible with the welding setup and, as such, to develop a very compact module.
“The Custodian project is a technical challenge to go beyond the limits of material processing quality by tweaking Cailabs’ unique MPLC technology.
It’s also a great opportunity to build solid relationships with highly-skilled partners across the development chain, from material physics research to end-user system delivery and real field tests”, states Matthieu Meunier, Custodian Project Manager at Cailabs.
Custodian case studies
LBW technology offers outstanding increment of welding productivity for exhaust system components, based on quality assurance of produced parts and a process speed four times higher. Through Custodian LBW-enabled processes productivity can increase up to 317%.
In casting or forging, a mold design and manufacturing is required. SLM process avoids the need for molding whilst producing one part may last up to 6 hours. Hence, to produce a batch of 100 units, the total time required using the traditional process to manufacture good-quality parts is 150 days whilst Custodian SLM technology reduces it to a maximum of 25 days, thus leading to an outstanding reduction of 83% of production time.
“Developing our product line whilst always keeping industrial reality on the ground in mind is key for us. By working on additive manufacturing and Laser Beam Welding we are addressing two hot topics of the high-power laser industry. We will be adding the Laser Cutting application to the Custodian program, looking at cutting speed improvement thanks to proper beam-shaping. Therefore, Custodian will address all the main challenges of high-power laser processes!”, explains Gwenn Pallier, Product Line Manager at Cailabs.
Custodian breakfast at Laser World of Photonics in Munich
The Custodian project will be presented during an open breakfast at the Laser World of Photonics show on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 from 9:00 to 9:45 hosted by Cailabs at booth #B3.423.
This is an opportunity to find out more about the project and the project members!
For more information: http://info.cailabs.com/custodian-breakfast-at-laser-world-of-photonics-munich
Custodian promotes the collaboration between different European partners such as RTOs, companies or clusters of experts in complementary industrial laser solution fields like laser-based manufacturing know-how, LBW and SLM solutions, monitoring and control. For more information: www.shapeyourlaser.eu