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Content archived on 2024-06-10

Increasing productivity by on-line monitoring of process and machine tool in laser machining


Objectives and content Machining materials using lasers has many advantages compared to conventional machining processes. Still certain drawbacks exist. The complexity of the laser processing operations means that the quality of the process is very sensitive to both machine parameters and environmental conditions. This leads to the necessity for thorough quality control after the machining operation. A second draw back to laser machining is that because of the complexity of the machine itself, a maximum availability of the order of 80% can be achieved. As a result, the potential of laser machining has not been fully exploited. In order to increase productivity of laser machining for European users, a prototype system for online monitoring of the machining process and machine tool condition will developed, realized and tested. The expected results will lead to a 100% in-process quality inspection, leading to an elimination of quality testing efforts after machining, and an increase of laser machine tool availability from 89% up to 95%. In this project, sensors will used to monitor both the process and machine tool condition. Correlations between process signals and the quality will be investigated, allowing an in-process quality inspection. Basic research in the field of process monitoring has already shown that there are some relationships between the plasma plume emission during laser machining and the resulting machining quality. Furthermore, the machine tool signals will be correlated to the health of the machine tool and the process development.

This results in expert knowledge for implementing predictive maintenance and an improvement of laser machine tools. Based on this knowledge, the required hardware and software for a prototype monitoring system will be developed. System tests will be performed by the end- users in a production environment in order to evaluate the system behaviour and to compare the achieved and the expected gain in productivity. The monitoring system will be applicable for both cutting and welding with CO2- and Nd:YAG laser machine tools respectively. It will comprise a computer with special hardware and software for data processing. Due to the modular structure, the system can be adapted according to the user requirements (process, machine tool structure). Thus, a multi-disciplinary use is guaranteed. The partnership consists of a research institute (Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.) carrying out basic investigations on process and condition monitoring. A manufacturer of laser beam sources (Rofin Sinar Laser GmbH), suppliers of turnkey laser machine tools (Comau, Permanova, NV Balliu), a sensor supplier (Laser point), control system supplier (General Robotics Ltd.) and End-users (Centro Recerche Fiat, HT Laserteknikka) in order to prove the functionality and the gain in productivity BE97-5115.

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Rofin Sinar Laser GmbH
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22113 Hamburg

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