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Automated cutting of non-crimp and woven fabrics using the laser remote technology

By A. Klotzbach and A. Fürst


The need for automated processes increases due to the high volume implementation of fiber reinforced polymer materials into car body mass production processes. That is the reason why the technology of laser remote cutting has successfully been adapted to fiber or fiber-reinforced fabrics. The remote technology rapidly moves a laser beam along the cutting contour using an optical scanner. The speed of the focused laser spot can reach several meters per second depending on the path length of the beam projection. As a result the complete cut of several meters of contour length is accomplished in only a few seconds. Due to the extreme dynamics of beam scanning, there is no significant reduction of the effective cutting speed even in the case of difficult contour details such as corners or smal l radii. It can also be very quickly moved from one cutting contour to the next. An extremely powerful and compact solution is achieved by combining the cutting process with a continuous transport of the web ("on the fly"). The novel machine concept has been implemented in collaboration with the company Held Systems Germany. The continuous "on the fly" feed of the web is realized by an endless transporting conveyor. To enable the processing of up to 3 m in width, the scanner operates in an oscillating motion perpendicular to the direction of the web transport. A specially adopted software controls the process timing, positioning and the synchronization of laser beam, material and scanner movements. A cutting accuracy for the textile fabrics of 0.5 mm at web transport speeds of up to 20 m per minute can be reliably guaranteed without any difficulties. The technology works with different kinds of fabrics: non-crimped carbon fiber fabrics can be processed as well as glass fiber webs. Due to a force free cutting process no additional material fixing is needed

Topics: remote cutting, remote technology, focused laser spot, contour length, oscillating motion, process timing
Year: 2012
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Provided by: Fraunhofer-ePrints
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