German defence manufacturer Heckler & Koch has chosen a Rofin DS 015 HQ 1,500W diode-pumped solid-state disc laser to complete laser welds on magazines, including those used by the British forces' SA80 rifles.
The company had, since as early as 2001, used a 2,500W Rofin CW 025 lamp-pumped solid-state laser, connected by a flexible 600µm fibre to the welding workstation where the magazines are welded in piecework. However, when a new bulk order was accepted, the capacity of the exisiting machine was almost exhausted and expansion or replacement was necessary to meet production demands.
'For us it was obvious that we definitely wanted to get a state-of-the-art diode pumped laser beam source. Unfortunately, due to the short lifetime of the arc lamps, the increased utilisation of the existing machine has caused higher maintenance rates and therefore more down times,' explains manufacturing control manager, Michael Vielsack. Tests in Rofin's application lab in Hamburg showed that a 1,500W diode-pumped disc laser with output power met the requirements of shorter cycle times, an improved seam quality and a low heat input. Even the narrow calculated delivery times could be kept by Rofin so that the Rofin DS 015 HQ was delivered and installed in Oberndorf in January 2009. Positioned right beside the aged Rofin CW 025, the previous machine was coupled with a 300µm fiber and the serial production could be continued. Five years later, more than 50,000 laser-welded magazines leave the works of Heckler & Koch every month.