A milestone in hybrid production with laser technology
KUKA has been working with the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT) and other industrial partners on a joint project of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and KIT (Karlsruhe) for integrating hybrid LMD technology into the production chain. The process used is laser metal deposition (LMD), popularly referred to as “3D printing”. KUKA robots form the basis of the system.
3 June 2020
Hybrid additive manufacturing as a practical alternative
As materials have to be protected from oxidation during laser material deposition and the complete system is located in a shielding gas atmosphere, there are often still limits to the size of the components that can be machined.
Hybrid manufacturing of large components on the basis of KUKA LMD technology
The advantages of LMD laser metal deposition: shorter production time, lower costs
In the coming years, the results from ProLMD are to be introduced into the production processes of the participating project partners MTU, Airbus and Daimler. “We are anticipating a milestone in the industrial implementation of hybrid manufacturing processes,” says Lars Ott, Project Manager for ProLMD at KUKA. The experts expect this technology to reduce production time by 50 percent and to cut costs by 20 to 30 percent. In addition, implementation can make a lasting contribution to resource efficiency in manufacturing.
In the project, KUKA is able to draw on the many years of experience of the experts at the Aachen location in the field of robot-based laser technology. KUKA designed and implemented two identical production lines for hybrid additive manufacturing in this project. They are already in use in the company’s own production shops at the Würselen site near Aachen and at the nearby Fraunhofer Institute. “In the long term, we want to upgrade the process for series production,” explains Günter Neumann.