Siemens VDO, the specialist manufacturer of electronics and mechatronics, produces around 27 million injector nozzles for the automotive industry each year, which include European automotive manufacturers Mercedes, Opel, and Renault. Rofin supplies laser systems for Siemens VDO, including the new production plants used to manufacture the Piezo and XL-2 injectors.
Being a critical part for vehicles, fuel-injection systems are subject to special requirements. It is essential to achieve consistently high production quality, and Siemens VDO has been relying on laser technology for many years. Marco Fiaschi and Alessandro Baldini, the laser process engineers for the low pressure section at Siemens VDO, said: 'Here in Pisa we have about 50 solid-state lasers of all kinds. These are used for welding and marking applications on all of the production lines which run virtually around the clock. We use many types of lasers from lamp- and diode pumped rod lasers up to the new disc laser systems. Our injector valves are fine mechanical high-precision units for which you have to hold tight tolerances, and it is very important to control the welding process as precisely as possible. The solid state technology used today offers us excellent monitoring of laser power and it is therefore the perfect tool for us.'
A total of 16 Rofin laser sources are integrated within 18 welding stations, which are distributed throughout the production facility. As the assembly process progresses, the Rofin lasers are used to perform a variety of different welding tasks that include a number of different weld seams, spot welds, fillet welds, lap welds and butt welds. The final operation is to mark each injector with a DataMatrix Code prior to final testing and onward shipment to the various automotive engine plants across Europe.
Three kilometres of fibre optic cables snake through the production area, bringing the laser light flexibly and safely to the required workstation. With multiple beam switches per laser, applications at different stations can take place at the same time.
The Piezo and XL-2 production lines demand high precision with extremely fine production tolerances. The disc laser technology used on these lines, provides Siemens VDO with excellent beam quality of 8mm*mrad. This is much better than that of rod lasers (24mm*mrad) and therefore ensures even finer welded seams.
The high number of lasers on site requires dependable service and support from the supplier. 'Due to the production rates of the valves, it is very important for us to receive quick and efficient response from laser manufacturer, together with readily available spare parts. Throughout our growth, Rofin has proven to be a reliable and responsive supplier and with the demand for the product still growing, we will continue to rely on Rofin in the future,' said Riccardo Toncelli, responsible for production in the low pressure section.