Remote laser cutting of metallic materials

Increased efficiency of almost 1000% compared to conventional engineering handling systems with linear drives

Longitudinal cut of the cutting edge of an anode of a lithium-ion cell
© Fraunhofer IWS Dresden
Longitudinal cut of the cutting edge of an anode of a lithium-ion cell
Cutting example of a friction disk, stainless steel 1.4301, 0.1 mm thick
© Fraunhofer IWS Dresden
Cutting example of a friction disk, stainless steel 1.4301, 0.1 mm thick

The remote laser beam cutting technology applies a well focused laser beam, which, by the help of quickly moving mirrors, is positioned along the cutting contour of the component’s surface. The laser spot speed is about several meters a second. Due to low interaction times between beam and component, the material is partially evaporated and desorped.

Typical ablation depths are 30-50µm per cycle. More material can be cut by repeating the scanning procedure. The process can be characterized as a cyclical ablation of material. The kerf is fabricated layer by layer. There is no need for cutting gas assistance and thus, as a consequence, there is no need for a guidance of the cutting gas nozzle.

The outstanding advantage of this technique is the processing speed of several hundred m/min. This speed can never be achieved with highly dynamic cutting systems with linear drives (due to inertia).

Advantages

Gasket geometry with free form surfaces, stainless steel 1.4301, 0.1 mm, processing time 195 ms at PL=1000W, vm=100m/min
© Fraunhofer IWS Dresden
Gasket geometry with free form surfaces, stainless steel 1.4301, 0.1 mm, processing time 195 ms at PL=1000W, vm=100m/min

Thanks to the laser remote cutting technology, the treatment of complex contours is no longer a problem. Laser cut edges are characterized by few burrs and low surface roughness. The processable range of material is broadly diversified. Due to the higher cutting speed, the heat-affected zones are smaller, compared to those, cut by conventional techniques. Compared to pinching processes, the benefits of laser cutting processes are a higher flexibility, a cost-saving effect in the case of tool making and regrinding and a low noise level.

Applications

Lithium-ion cell generated with remote cutting technology
© Fraunhofer IWS Dresden
Lithium-ion cell generated with remote cutting technology

Applications can be found in those cases, which require excellent component precisions smaller than plus/minus 10µm and which, at the same time, demand high cutting speeds at any contours. Exemplary, you can see here a gasket geometry, cut from 0.1 mm CrNi steel in less than 200 ms. At a laser output of moderate 1000W the average processing time for the entire contour is 100 m/min.

The remote cutting technology without cutting gas assistance is especially suitable for:

  • fuel cells
  • exposure masks and soldering foils
  • spring elements (flat springs, elastic springs)
  • friction disks
  • sieves and perforated sheets
  • electrodes and separators for Li-ion cells