Daimler requested the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT) and the LaserCUSING specialist Concept Laser to develop the X line 1000R, which has the largest build chamber size yet developed, allowing it to build much larger components.
“As a result of the cooperation project with Daimler and the Fraunhofer ILT, we hope that the generative machine technology will meet customers' requirements on a broad basis and that it can be employed profitably,” said Frank Herzog, CEO of Concept Laser.
The X line 1000R has been developed for the tool-less manufacturing of large functional components and technical prototypes. It features 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- and die-casting applications in early phases of development. The LaserCUSING process will also make it possible to make lightweight structures with a high level of rigidity, which will permit weight-optimised geometries with almost no restrictions on the design.
The LaserCUSING process, which is equivalent to the Selective Laser Melting (SLM) process, is used to produce metallic components that can be subjected to mechanical and thermal loading with high precision. Depending on the application, the materials used are high-grade and tool steels, aluminium or titanium alloys, nickel-based superalloys, and cobalt-chromium alloys. In the future, precious metals such as gold and silver will also be used.
Fraunhofer and Concept Laser presented the LaserCUSING machine X line 1000R to the general public for the first time at Euromold 2012. A machine is already in operation at Daimler AG.