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TWIMP Report Summary

Project ID: 696747

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - TWIMP (Innovative Laser Solution for Cutting Welding TWIP steel with IMProved Performance)

Reporting period: 2015-11-01 to 2016-10-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

TWIMP is an innovative, stand-alone laser machine applicable for cutting and welding processes, with following added value (overall objectives of the project itself).

• Special steels processability (TWIP, DP600 and other AHSS steels), including standard steels as well.
• Compact dimension (< 10 square meters used area).
• Cheaper shipping costs and reduced installation time.
• Easy to use and fast to program (ISO G code programming mode same as machinery) but including in the meantime advanced programming mode for high-end applications.
• Flexible to operate in standalone or integrated mode with semi-automatic or full automatic environment.
• Modular and Scalable platform: machine can grow with customer business growth.
• From prototyping solution to mass production processes.

TWIMP machine can process complex shape components in the material TWIP (Twinning Induced Plasticity Steel, belonging in the Advanced High Strength Steels). It is also capable of laser cutting the material DP600, which is also an AHSS.
These components, made of TWIP steel, are generally applied in the Automotive Industry, where there is an urgent need of weight reduction and safety improvement of vehicles. TWIP steel, being stronger and lighter than conventional metals, is the perfect solution to this problem, and the TWIMP machine has been developed to provide a compact machine, for cutting and welding of these new materials, to automotive component manufacturers according to the extremely high standards, as required by important car-makers.

TWIMP machine is faster and cheapest than comparable MIG (Manual Inert Gas) welding machines in terms of minor power consumption and process cost; some important advantages are given by the absence of filling material and the adoption of process controls to limit steel structure deviation during welding.

Another important advantage of TWIMP machine is the small footprint, and its competitive cost (compared with other manufacturers of laser welding equipment), TWIMP machine will be an invaluable addition to the industry. In fact its reduced dimensions and monolithic structure allow quick and cheap shipping, optimized installation time/cost and low footprint usage in customer facilities.
Platform is modular and ready for horizontal stacking of multiple TWIMP machines in order to perform complex processes and/or inline integration. TWIMP machine can be used in stand-alone applications, with manual loading/unloading process, up to full automatic processes.

TWIMP programming language and Human Machine Interface are very common in machinery environment, furthermore machine collects advanced programming mode (Motion control, Robotic Control, Ladder, C++, Structured) in a unique platform which makes available an high-end, adaptive machine to a very wide range of engineering applications.

TWIMP machine is a new era machine for entry level, mid-range and high-end laser welding/cutting applications.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

During first period of TWIMP project development, 12 months, the following objectives were achieved:
• Miniaturization of machine
• Tool adaptation to cut and weld complex shapes.
Elettrosystem team approached to the preliminary studies of tasks with a pragmatic method, aimed by the intent of results maximization for the final TWIMP application.
Before design start, a merge meeting was held between commercial/marketing team, technicians, and engineers to match technical specifications and real market needs. To do that, many real customer and market needs were carried into studies whose scope was to realize industrial requirements into TWIMP, giving answer not only to technical demands but also functional, usage, maintenance, transportability, scalability etc. needs.
Miniaturization of machine developed in WP1 Task 1.1 was done and deliverable was produced to report the results. TWIMP machine is now very compact, with less than 10 m² of footprint but we went ahead.
The new platform concept, thanks to its scalability, ready for future implementations despite such compact dimensions, allows customizations for final customer satisfaction. Moreover, this compactness is why the time-to-market is the shortest, and also shipment and installation are competitive.
Tool adaptation, developed in WP1 Task 1.2 is another won challenge. Elettrosystem team not pursued only the result but also the best quality. This solution has been achieved with research, and evaluation of commercial components and customizing mechanical fixture so that different parts are moved according to interpolating movements of robotized arm. The right mix of commercial devices, mechanical solutions and software development are the ingredients of a machine able to cut and weld 3D articulated shapes also with a gap among the edges.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The pragmatic approach gives to TWIMP project an higher development level, merging successfully an R&D project to market requests with great results under technical and commercial point of view, because Elettrosystem already sold first two TWIMP machines to new customers.
Elettrosystem expects a big impact in terms of technology advantage and market demand because the first dissemination activities, B2B meetings and marketing events, returned a very high interest: in consideration of the initial progression of the TWIMP project, this is a very good result.

TWIMP machine features together with twip steel performance opens a totally new scenario of parts production for automotive industry and many other fields.
The need of strength, safety, reliability, and low carbon emission are pushing most of car maker brands to new materials and technology applications; light weight steels give an answer to this need and over automotive field, many other sectors/industry need the same.
Before TWIMP machine, no other technologies made possible twip steel junction, with different thickness, without filling material, and without steel characteristic deviation and this means only one thing: new process and new solution may be studied and adopted to produce new lighter and safe vehicles.

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