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Product Code: ICA13_702

Cax Process Chain for Laser Drilling of Tool Molds
Authors:
Hermann Uchtmann, Chair for Laser Technology of the Rwth Aachen University; Aachen Germany
Ingomar Kelbassa, Chair for Laser Technology of the Rwth Aachen University; Aachen Germany
Presented at ICALEO 2013

Rotation sintering, also known as slush molding, is used to manufacture molded skins, such as cockpit or door interior panels for cars. At present, approx. 80 percent of molded skins are manufactured using electroforms due to the complex free-form surfaces, and surface structures such as leather graining. The manufacture of these electroforms is time-consuming and expensive. The aim is to replace conventional electroforms with laser-drilled molds.

Holes in tool molds should be drilled by using laser radiation as part of an automated process. The system consists of a robot with a fiber-laser beam source. A CAx process chain has been developed for this purpose in which the CAD data of the tool molds are processed, drill hole fields generated, and a machine-specific RC program created. Process-specific fundamentals, such as suitable process windows and process control, have been devised to manufacture holes using fiber laser radiation. The advantages of the new laser-drilled tool molds may result in the substitution of conventional electroforms, allowing old markets to be re-entered or additional markets created and targeted through new molds or lower costs.

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