Daimler has commissioned the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT) and the laser cusing specialist Concept Laser to develop a new super laser melting machine X line 1000R, whose build chamber size surpasses anything that was known previously.
The X line 1000R was developed for the tool-less manufacturing of large functional components and technical prototypes with material properties which are identical throughout the range. The centrepiece of the X line 1000R consists of a high-power laser in the kilowatt range, which enables an increase in productivity of up to a factor of 10 compared with standard laser fusing machines available on the market.
The machine was specifically configured to cater for Daimler AG's special requirements for automobile applications. The aim of Daimler AG was to replace costly sand-casting and die-casting applications in early phases of development. In addition, the laser cusing process will in future offer the possibility of generating lightweight structures with a high level of rigidity, which will permit weight-optimised geometries, with almost no restrictions on the design, but at present cannot be manufactured in this way with the manufacturing techniques which are available today.
The Fraunhofer ILT supplied its know-how for designing the kW laser beam source and the matching optical lens system in order to ensure the desired build-up rates of different aluminium alloys. In addition, the process control for processing the different alloys alongside the machine construction was worked out and the mechanical properties of the components were examined.