The research group on Flexible Sheet Metal Working is part of a larger, world class research division focusing on advanced manufacturing process development. The sheet metal working research activities are fully concentrated on the development of cutting and forming processes that allow flexible production of small series of parts in a fully automated way. For this purpose both hardware and software (CAPP, CAM) developments are covered. The research group works in the context of a number of strategic industrial partnerships, which assures access to up to date hardware facilities and implementation of successful research output in commercial machine tools. Through close cooperation with research groups from the Material Science department and with colleagues involved in control systems and automation within the Mechanical Engineering department, the process development research can be conducted in a systems approach.
- In recent years fiber lasers have become the standard for cutting different types of sheet metal materials. While due to their high beam quality originally their strength seemed to be mainly in fast processing of relatively thin sheets, more recently developments like beam shaping in combination with advanced optics have allowed to expand the application range to thicker grade materials. Dynamic beam shaping by means of highly dynamic mirror systems allows to further improve the beam characteristic and optimize it for specific cutting applications. Optimally using such systems requires a good understanding of the thermal profile at the cutting front as resulting from complex beam - material interaction.
- In order to maximise the process window for thicker plates the effects of different achievable patterns in dynamic beam shaping will be studied by means of advanced absorbance models.
- This requires the development of improved modelling capabilities suitable for fast simulation of the beam material interaction.The envisaged research will be conducted in close cooperation with hardware solution developers, which will allow to verify the modelling capabilities by means of an experimental platform capable of dynamic beam shaping for higher power fiber lasers.
- Laser technology in general and solid state laser systems in specific
- Numerical controlled manufacturing systems
- Modelling techniques in a MatLab environment
- Design of optical systems
- CAD/CAM based programming of manufacturing systems
- Design of experiments
The research group on Flexible Sheet Metal Working offers an up to date infrastructure for applied laser related research. The research project will be conducted in close cooperation with strategic partners in order to assure industrial relevance.