The 3D production of precision components was the focus of the LaserForum 2018, which took place in mid-October at the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany (RUB). In three consecutive sessions, experts from research and industry presented and discussed the latest developments and insights from additive, subtractive and hybrid manufacturing processes.
Based on the recently awarded Nobel Prize in Physics for the "Optical Tweezers" (Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou, Donna Strickland), Prof. Esen from the Department of Laser Application Technology (LAT) at the RUB opened the event with a lecture on the principle of optical assembly of microscopic components.
The highlight: there is no mechanical contact, so even the finest structures remain intact. This enables a novel and non-destructive assembly of smallest components such as e.g. swivels, screw and snap connections.
The creative freedom of additive manufacturing technologies will be particularly interesting when laser metal deposition (LMD) is complemented by a self-learning robotic system. After automatic optical detection of the workpiece surface, the system plans the most efficient process paths itself.
The machine intelligence is crucial here: this makes it much easier to produce free forms in comparison to programming according to CAD templates, as Dr. Rainer Beccard from Lunovu explained.
Ultra-short pulse lasers are ideal for micro-processing such as micro-drilling, cutting and turning. Thus, medical products such as stents, implants, joints and also dental implants can be optimally adapted to the specific loads and different geometries of their users by means of 3D laser production methods.
The company Matsuura presented the advantages of hybrid-additive manufacturing methods. Selective laser melting (SLM) with all its creative freedom is combined with a subsequent milling process step, so that deep slots can be produced without eroding, which not only reduces production times, but also the cost of manufacturing.
The event series LaserForum regularly and comprehensively addresses selected questions, problems and trends in the application of laser technology along the entire value chain. The event is organized by the IVAM Microtechnology Network together with the renowned partners Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. and the Chair for Laser Application Technology (LAT) of the Ruhr-University Bochum (RUB).
Mona Okroy-Hellweg | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
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