Laser drilling New machine concept for laser drilling results in higher quality at lower costs
Germany — An intelligent measuring system developed by Scanlab automatically corrects deviations in laser machining in the µm range, thereby avoiding defective work.
The core component for a new machine concept for laser drilling in the micrometer range of Stoba Customized Machinery comes from Scanlab. The processing machine integrates the five-axis precsys microprocessing system with a femtosecond laser and optical measurement for automatic correction of drilling results. As such, significant increases in productivity are attainable with 24/7 industrial use of the machine.
For industrial production processes with extremely high accuracy requirements, labor costs for quality control are generally high too. If it is possible to reduce measuring procedures, defect parts and machine operating times for readjustment, significant cost savings can be made.
This was precisely the objective of the collaboration between the two companies: To ensure a stable laser machining process for micro-drilling, along with an automated final product inspection, which also automatically initiates adjustment of the process parameters if necessary.
In the new Focus One laser machine, Scanlab's micro-drilling head is connected to an optical measuring system via EtherCAT. The Stoba measuring system can inspect drill holes starting from 25 µm in diameter. The integrated software for machine control analyzes the measuring results and automatically adapts the process parameters as required. If, for example, the drilling result shows a trend which indicates a reduction in the diameter of a few µm, the system automatically corrects the drilling diameter based on an individually set threshold. For reliable batch tracing, the entire production process is thoroughly monitored and recorded.
Greater productivity for large batch sizes
For the user, the machine concept means a higher throughput — thanks to reduced set-up times — and more freedom in production planning whilst at the same time a reduced staff requirement. Since these laser machines have a major “autonomy” with regard to type changes (different drilling patterns) and integrated measuring procedures, one specialist is sufficient for simultaneous operation of several machines.
The greatest benefits can be achieved in large-batch production of cost-intensive workpieces. What's more, traceability of parts produced can easily be ensured, the company states. The initial target markets are therefore medical technology, the automotive sector and aerospace industries.