LASER BLANKING: COMPETITIVE AND PRODUCTION READY

2018-11-30 13:10:00
LUQIMENG
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EXPERIENCE & HERITAGE


1949   Automatic Feed Company founded

2008   Laser blanking development initiated

2009   First of many patents related to laser blanking solution filed

2011   LaserCoil Technologies, LLC established

2012   Year-long customer production run on test line

2013   First order received for a single-head system

2014   Q1, Tech Center opened and coil-fed production begins

2015   Q3, two multiple-head systems orders received

2016   Q1, the first of several customer production lines launched

2017   Q1, Launch of a dual-head line with robot stacking


Considerations

?Availability of higher power lasers

?Optics limitations

?Edge cutting and edge waves

?Flatness/leveling of material with respect to cutting speeds

?Handles bare and pre-painted materials

?Aluminum up to UHSS and AHSS

?Can ramp from prototype to production parts without tooling

?Improved edge quality ¡ª edges can be laser welded without an additional precision shear operation

?If CAD data is not available a blank can be scanned and cut


?Software that intelligently defines the blank cut path and nesting

?Excellent for service part work

?Ability to ¡®kit¡¯ complete orders

?Eliminates the need for die- or automation-related clearance features

?Due to less infrastructure, the line can be considered as being ¡°portable¡±



MARKET TRENDS AND ISSUES


Advancement of AHSS

?Fractures and splitting issues on traditional presses

?Increased wear driving up tooling costs

More Vehicle Models

?Driving flexibility and responsiveness

Speed to Launch

?Die production time ¡ª ¡°back and forth in getting it right¡±

?Quickly advance from prototype to low volume and ramp into high production

Ongoing Pressures

?Reduced costs

?Improved quality




CUTTING SPEEDS


Considerations

?Straight line cutting speeds

?Limitations of small radius ¨C breakaway protection

?Cut quality

?Dimensions on laser weld edges

?Can slow down to increase tolerances

?Start/stop versus continuous strip motion

?Multi-axis adds to tolerance



Problem

Customer was experiencing splits in the forming process with blanks cut from 2-mm thick AHSS in a traditional blanking press operation.

Resolution

After multiple attempts to resolve the problem with the steel supplier and through blank shape changes, the customer tried laser cut tryout blanks.

Results

?It was determined that the mechanical blanking caused micro-fractures

?The laser cut blanks eliminated the micro-fractures

?Production of these parts continued using laser blanking

CUSTOMER CASE 2: OPERATIONAL RESPONSIVENESS

Problem

Customer was experiencing downtime due to problems keeping a blanking die running when standard tooling was put into use with high-strength steel.

Resolution

Blanks were sourced for laser cutting while the tooling was being reworked to accommodate the new high-strength materials.

Results

?CAD data was generated by scanning a finished blank

?The laser line was programmed and ready to cut before the first coil arrived at the facility for interim production

Problem

A mechanically cut blank required an additional precision shearing operation to prepare the edge prior to a welding operation to produce tailor welded blanks.

Resolution

Blanks were sourced for laser cutting to avoid the second shearing operation.

Results

?The resulting laser edge did not require a secondary shearing operation

?The coil width was reduced by 12-mm creating additional savings

Problem

Customer did not have updated blank shape CAD data. The blank shape was modified to accommodate features in the forming dies, but the updated information was not documented.

Resolution

A sample blank was sent to LaserCoil and was scanned to produce dimensional CAD information. Using standard LaserCoil software the CAD files were imported and converted automatically into nesting routines.

Results

?Time savings over manually generating paths

?Automated generation of optimized cutting paths

?Material savings from optimized nesting patterns


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