The project addresses two important joining processes in the automotive industry by using high power laser diodes. The first process is the pre activation of adhesives for joining different car body materials such as zinc coated steel, aluminium, and composites. The laser will locally cure the adhesive, "pre activate", by heating it to 180 +/ 20 C. This process is designed to substitute pre fixturing by resistance spot welding, which requires aftertreatment and limits the range of applicable materials and joint types. The new laser technique will reduce the number of process steps as well as cost. In addition, it allows to extend the range of materials, material combinations, and seam geometries. This enables an increased use of advanced materials as well as design concepts, with their technological and environmental advantages. The second process envisaged in the project, using the same laser technology, is soldering and brazing of electrical contacts in cars, where
reliability demands under operating conditions are extremely high, particularly for mechanical properties and thermal stress. Soldering using high power laser diodes is expected to meet quality, automation as well as economical requirements. Soldering and adhesive pre activation require a laser source which is cheap and reliable, while intensity demands are not too high. This favours the use of a new type of laser, the optical combination laser, a device which combines the radiation of several tens of high power semiconductor lasers optically. High power semiconductor lasers, or laser diodes, have strongly decreased in price recently, and further decrease is expected. In addition, this technology is becoming actractive for the low operating cost, high reliability, small size, low weight, and simple integration into robots. The consortium combines the skills of two car manufacturers, a car electronics manufacturer, a manufacturers of optical combination lasers, a producer of high power laser diodes, as well as research institutes.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
9016 St Gallen