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Laser caving. Rapid progress in an advanced technology

: Beyer, E.; Petring, D.; Zefferer, H.; Eberl, G.

Manufacturing systems 24 (1995), Nr.4, S.293-301
ISSN: 0748-948X
Fraunhofer ILT ()
control system; depth sensor; laser fusion caving; laser oxide chip caving; lasercav programming system; machining head; melt ejection

Thermal stock removal by laser caving adds an utmost flexible process to production technologies for the manufacture of complex free-form surfaces. An LCPS (LASERCAV Programming System) enables the computer-aided transformation of CAD geometry data of the component to be translated directly into ready-to-operate CNC programmes. Automatic compliance with the programmed depth of removal is ensured by a depth sensor and control system. The complete system in the past used only the high-precision laser oxide chip caving technique as a stock removal process, whose low removal rate leads to comparatively long machining times. This valiant of the process is meant for finishing. Meanwhile, in addition to this the laser fusion caving technique basing on process investigations at the ILT has reached a state which enables systematic representation and conversion of the measures necessary to optimise the application technique. In addition to the design of suitable basic parameter sets, decisive ad vances particularly include the development of a process gas nozzle which is equally suitable for both machining techniques and the determination and evaluation of the families of characteristics for removal depths, removal rate, roughness, efficiency and the heat affected zone, as a function of the feed rate and laser power. Because integration of this roughing process in the design of the commercial LASERCAV machine has now begun, a system will be available which is acceptable both with regard to shaping accuracy and production times.