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Industrie 4.0 laser technology
The technology company KUKA will be exhibiting the latest applications for the laser industry at the Laser World of Photonics in Munich (hall A2 booth 324) from 26 to 29 June: from a laser show application and components such as optics for laser welding through to higher-level system monitoring, the engineering company will display its expertise – also covering the field of Industrie 4.0.
June 14, 2017
Cutting costs with CO2 laser processing
At this year’s Laser World of Photonics, the mechanical and systems engineers from KUKA will be demonstrating the benefits of laser processing by way of a show application. The process is precise, wear-free and clean. That is why laser processing is firmly established in metalworking. With a wavelength of 10.6 micrometers, CO2 lasers are suitable for processing non-metallic materials and most plastics. For this reason, CO2 laser robots from KUKA Industries are primarily used in the automotive, consumer goods and aerospace industries for cutting and perforating thermoplastic materials, glass and carbon fiber-reinforced plastics and carbons as well as wood and other materials. These 3D workpieces (typically with thicknesses of between 0.2 and 5 millimeters) can range in size from 50 millimeters up to several meters.
Unlike mechanical cutting processes, the tool is not subject to wear and tear thanks to the contactless laser machining process. The component is not subject to any forces that could impact negatively on the cutting result. Furthermore, the energy input of the KUKA CO2 laser robot can be adapted exactly to the specific laser cutting process. As a result, only a small amount of heat is introduced into the workpiece, thus preventing the material from distorting or overheating. This also saves energy and cuts costs. Another highly important factor is the ability to increase the flexibility of production. Components often continue to undergo development after production has begun and are modified right up to the end of the production process. By reprogramming the robot, these modifications can be carried out quickly in a KUKA CO2 laser cell. This is significantly different from a punching system, whose component fixture would need to undergo a complex adjustment.
The technology leader will also be exhibiting KUKA Smart Connect, a cloud-based software platform that enables users to access and analyze their system components at any time and from any location. KUKA Smart Connect allows customers to bring their product to market faster, adapt to regulatory requirements, increase efficiency and improve their own innovative strength.
KUKA LaserSpy: automatically safe
New developments in laser technology also call for new safety approaches. Longer focal lengths and greater laser power heighten the safety technology requirements. A TÜV-certified enclosure and improved monitoring sensors have been developed by KUKA Industries to ensure that the systems and their operators are not harmed in the event of a malfunction. After all, the duration of exposure to the laser in the event of a malfunction is decisive for the safe enclosure of laser systems. KUKA Industries offers a reliable solution for ensuring the safe enclosure of laser systems. The technology leader supplies the only TÜV-certified active laser safety sensor: the LaserSpy. It thus meets the highest safety standards.
The state of all sensors can be monitored on a permanent basis thanks to continuous further development and upgrading in the context of Industrie 4.0. The information produced by the safety system can be accessed immediately and from anywhere using smart devices. This makes the proven LaserSpy series, which enables safe monitoring of double-walled laser safety booths, even more effective. It can now monitor larger areas in a more active manner and rapid, targeted intervention is possible in the event of malfunctions.
Optics are the be all and end all
From individual components to cells or systems – KUKA Industries offers every customer the right solution for the efficient execution of complex welding or cutting processes. This includes the appropriate optical technologies. “Our product range includes welding optics, powder optics, cutting optics and special optics,” explains Alwin Berninger, CEO of KUKA Industries. “These machining optics enable us to combine outstanding functionality with suitability for operation in the harshest of operating conditions – without compromising on their compact and automation-optimized design.” All optics referred to here are compatible with various handling systems – including robots, gantry systems and special kinematic systems.