Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


Final Report - ALTEX (Automated Laser Welding for Textiles)

Funded under: FP6-SME


ALTEX was a European funded project within the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) whose ultimate aim was to develop equipment, textiles and relevant procedures for manufacturing textile products based on current laser welding process innovations. The laser welding technique allows sealed seams to be used in applications such as outdoor clothing, with the potential for a reduced number of process steps and provides improved reliability, consistency and security compared with alternative techniques. The process is also suitable for automation and would potentially fit into a fully automated production line for garment or other textile product manufacture such as bed manufacture.

The principal objectives of the project were the following:
- preparation of textile barrier structures for protective garments and the development of laser welding procedures in order to meet the performance requirements of garment and bed manufacturing applications;
- development of a reconfigurable support system to hold fabrics during the joining procedure by using novel surface-generation strategies from two-dimensional (2D) pattern geometries to create 2D and three-dimensional (3D) seam shapes;
- development of a laser welding head and laser carrier system to provide joining and consolidation of the joint;
- demonstration of laser welding procedures for the fabrication of applications concerning protective garment making and mattress construction.

It was shown that textile laser welding could be used in the manufacturing of simple or complex shapes if the appropriate clamping and support systems are used. Automated welding was demonstrated in specific application areas. However, to take full advantage of the automated procedures and provide time and labour savings, the equipment needed to be integrated with an automated production line that would include fabric preparation and handling.

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