TRUMPF has launched a new solution to improve the quality and robustness of laser welding.
Currently, the only way to guide the laser beam during the welding process is via the welding robot – but TRUMPF’s new BrightLine Scan technology will also allow users to guide the laser beam using the laser scanner.
This combination of robot and scanner makes it possible to supplement the forward motion of the robot with a further, freely programmable movement of the laser in any desired direction. This “oscillating motion” is facilitated by the use of specially developed lightweight mirrors. By enabling scan frequencies in the kilohertz range, this new technique doubles the thickness of sheets that can be processed in heat conduction welding, upping it from three to six millimetres. The new technology allows users to tailor the parts’ bonding surfaces – which are melted directly by the laser beam – to suit each particular application. This makes for a more reliable process and results in higher quality parts. The fact that the beam can now also be guided using the scanner also makes it easier to achieve tighter tolerances. “BrightLine Scan is another example of TRUMPF’s determination to offer industry-relevant solutions by focusing on the needs of sheet-metal fabricators. Companies can enjoy huge benefits by incorporating this technology in their day-to-day work, because tighter tolerances in the welding process mean less scrap, faster processing and lower costs,” says TRUMPF product manager Martin Geiger.
Dual method of guiding laser beam makes process more robust
The task of guiding the laser beam via the laser scanner in BrightLine Scan is performed by the freely programmable PFO 20 focusing optics. Developed by TRUMPF engineers, these are integrated into the robot’s welding optics. Guiding the beam using a combination of the robot and scanner provides a major boost to the robustness and flexibility of the laser welding process. “Previously, we had to position the laser beam right over the seam to guarantee a high-quality weld. If you deviated from the right spot by a millimetre, or even less, the part often had to be scrapped. But now that the beam can also be guided via the scanner, it’s easier to achieve tighter tolerances. That makes it possible to correct any minor inaccuracies that creep in during previous steps such as bending,” says Geiger.
Simple to program and use
BrightLine Scan is seamlessly integrated into the robot’s welding optics, so programming the TRUMPF welding cell is as quick and easy as ever. TRUMPF provides companies with TechSets, which contain all the parameters they need for common applications. Fabricators can also benefit from BrightLine Scan in the welding cell’s TruTops Weld offline programming system. This allows users to program the machine while it is busy welding a different part. “Offline programming is a fast and economical solution for both low and high-volume production. And the ability to store all the basic process information directly on the machine gives us the buffer we need to deal with the shortage of skilled workers,” says Geiger. The new technology provides a reliable solution for welding sheets up to six millimetres thick, which makes it particularly suitable for agricultural and construction machinery. The high precision and quality of the seams also makes it an efficient choice for manufacturing furniture products and EV battery trays. BrightLine Scan is also a great option for producing electrical cabinets.
Contact: Gerry Jones