LASHARE is a European Commission co-funded research project with the goal of sharing laser expertise. Coordinated by the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, more than 36 partners from industry, small and medium sized businesses (SME) and six of the most renowned research and technology development organisations have teamed up to develop and apply an approach called Laser-based Equipment Assessment (LEA). In this, an industrial user, an SME equipment supplier and a research and technology development partner jointly conduct an assessment of a laser-based equipment. Now LASHARE calls for additional project partners.
In such an assessment, the project partners conduct the definition of manufacturing relevant objectives, the implementation of technological enhancements and the final validation in a production like environment. The end of such an assessment produces a robust prototype of the laser-based equipment that is fully in line with market expectations.
First results of the Assessments
Since September 2013, LASHARE has initiated 14 Laser Based Equipment Assessments (LEA’s). Following the first stages of these assessments, where users, suppliers and research partners agreed on objectives and concrete measures, the first solutions from the implementation phase are now being seen, with some LEA’s exchanging equipment for preliminary testing at the user sites. Newly developed laser sources were dispatched, new processing heads have been tested and work piece samples have been exchanged for analysis.
Within the project, all LEAs are connected through cross sectional activities where topics are identified that are of common interest to all partners, such as automation which has been identified to play an important role in developing and selling laser-based equipment. Some of the partners regard interfacing to external automation solutions as a burden due to the diversity of industrial environments. In some cases, efforts for customer site integration even exceed the sales price of the product. Activities such as the implementation of modular interfaces or agreed protocols for control signals will contribute to an increased economic efficiency in this area on both the supplier and the user side.
The results from the first phase of the project, that include the envisaged success of the LEAs and the identified general requirements from the diverse market environments, have led to the formulation of a competitive call which will be opened by LASHARE on February 1st 2015. It will allow new teams of suppliers and users to join the project with relevant European topics in the area of laser-based equipment for manufacturing.
LASHARE intends to add 10 to 12 Laser-based Equipment Assessments (LEAs) which focus on sensors and knowledge based ICT systems in the area of complex manufacturing tasks. The equipment addressed within such an LEA shall enable autonomous set up of machine and laser parameters for fast and flexible manufacture and/or process and quality control for robust processes and fully documented production. Through this call, funding of more than 1.7 million Euros is offered to new LEA partners, based on the rules of the seventh framework program of the European Commission. The start of the new LEAs is anticipated for September 1st 2015.
The guide for applicants will be published with the opening of the call, which is scheduled for February 1st 2015. The call text can be found in the attached pdf.
Petra Nolis | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT
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