Laser delivers 20 per cent boost for cell manufacturer

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A 20 per cent production capacity increase has been the outcome of high-temperature measuring cell specialist Imes investment, for the first time, in a laser welding station.

The investment followed a record year of sales in 2011 for Imes‘ measuring cells, designed for large gas and diesel engines. This meant the company faced the challenge of doubling its production capacity by the turn of the year. Imes, located in southern Germany, manufactures high-temperature resistant pressure sensors that are in the main supplied to manufacturers of engines for large ships and static engines, generally with power ratings from 250kW to 18MW.

Imes had initially used adhesive technology as the joining method, but the joins suffered from the extreme vibrations encountered during the long operation times, which average 10,000 hours, and so managers opted for a laser welding subcontractor. With the increase in production capacity required, laser welding in-house was deemed necessary.

‘We are already welding an additional joint with the laser,’ said Imes’ managing director Stefan Neumann. ‘And our new product, which we will launch in 2012, features several laser welds.’

Imes is using the Rofin Select laser workstation. It is both a manual welding laser and a high-precision CNC system with a multi-functional joystick. It has steel-reinforced hoses and its CNC-driven rotary axis allows for a fully-automated process, according to Rofin. The Rofin team were able to deliver the laser welding station within four weeks from the point at which work began on application development.