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New technologies for optimising laser cutting processes in the automotive industry

New technologies for optimising laser cutting processes in the automotive industry
  • IDEKO is taking part in the ROSMA project which is aimed at improving laser blanking processes.
  • The strategic aim of the initiative, part of the Hazitek business R&D Support Programme, is to develop a robust, clean, intelligent and portable cutting line.

Currently, laser blanking lines are an innovative alternative to traditional press cutting for the automotive sector thanks to the high flexibility that they offer, and because they do not require a die or tool for workpiece cutting. These new systems also bring great savings in the purchase cost, maintenance and space in the plant, so both service centres and OEMs are committing to these new methods.

However, this new technology poses different challenges and, to meet the demands of the market, it must evolve in aspects such as increases in productivity, robustness and efficiency of the line, through the incorporation of intelligent systems in order to attain an autonomous line; all integrated within a clean, ergonomic and safe environment.

In order to respond to the current challenges that these solutions pose, IDEKO is participating in the ROSMA project, an initiative that is part of the Basque Government's business R&D Support Programme, Hazitek, which is aimed at developing new technologies for the optimisation of laser blanking processes, an innovative solution that replaces press cutting and with applications in the automotive sector.

Specifically, the research centre, a member of the Basque Research and Technology Alliance (BRTA) is collaborating in this initiative through its manufacturing processes research group, which has a team devoted both to the design and optimisation of the laser cutting process, and to the introduction of the latest technologies and state-of-the-art solutions in this process.

Thanks to its experience in the understanding and the development of new technological solutions, IDEKO, within the framework of the project, is principally responsible for putting a laser cutting monitoring system in place, implementing it and validating it on the laser blanking line.

In this regard, the research centre has experience in the development of these types of processes as it has supported Sheet metal division of Danobatgroup in process development and training of operators in the use of these types of laser machines at Gonvarri Valencia, one of only four laser blanking installations in the world geared towards the automotive sector.

Development of a robust, clean and intelligent line in steel cutting processes

ROSMA aims to obtain cutting lines with three main characteristics: high portability in order to reduce the cost and simplify the assembly of steel cutting lines; robustness, through the development of lines with zero defects and unwanted stoppages; and intelligence, that is the integration of intelligent systems in the areas of quality, production and platform 4.0 in order to achieve effective management.

 "With the technological development to be carried out in this project, this new solution will provide significant advantages in the areas of production, flexibility, operational efficiency, product quality and investment" said Sonia M. García of IDEKO.

The ROSMA project, which started in March 2020 and will end in December of this year, is led by Fagor Arrasate and also taking part, in addition to the IDEKO research centre, are: ALEAK Prototype, a company devoted to the manufacture of parts for the automotive sector, as well as the Koniker business R&D unit, which specialises in forming technologies and industrial peripherals.