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From Manufactory to Series Production
– Photonic Tools for Lightweight Structures


The efficient use of limited resources is one of the major challenges of our time. Against this background, lightweight construction concepts are getting more and more important in today’s traffic industry, in particular automotive and aircraft industry. In order to achieve a widespread use of lightweight materials, it is necessary to develop new processing methods as well as testing and measurement procedures for a large variety of materials, which would allow for the realization of an economically efficient, flexible and automated high volume production. Here, photonic methods, especially laser material processing technologies, provide adequate solutions. The high flexibility and especially the contact-free, wear-free interaction mechanism of laser radiation with matter provides advantages with respect to the machining of materials, which cause notable tool wear if processed with conventional machining methods. The possibility of a strongly localized energy deposition, customized for the respective production requirements, opens up new opportunities for the machining of temperature-sensitive materials. By means of the funding initiative “Photonic Processes and Tools for Resource-Efficient Lightweight Construction” in the course of the programme “Photonics Research Germany”, it is the goal of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to overcome existing barriers with respect to widespread introduction of lightweight materials into high volume production. For research work in 9 cooperative projects, the BMBF provides almost 30 million euros in total.