Mobile and automated laser hardening system

In laser hardening the workpiece surface is irradiated with a laser in a targeted manner and thereby heated locally. The workpiece itself is quenched through the heat influx, and no further quenching media is required. Due to the minimal heat applied, adjacent areas are subjected to only a slight or no thermal load, and the resulting surface area is hard with a tough core. In order to reap the benefits of laser hardening also on large workpieces in an automated and mobile manner, Alpha Laser in cooperation with ALOtec Dresden have developed the mobile laser hardening system Al-Rock.

The mobile laser hardening system consists of a self-propelled caterpillar track, on which a 6-axis articulated robot with a zoom lens for laser hardening is located. Using the robot, the processes can be programmed in advance and subsequently implemented automatically with high precision. The paths or surfaces to be hardened can be taught-in either manually (point-to-point) or with a software for path planning using a CAD model of the workpiece. Moreover, it is also possible to automatically scan and digitize the surface of the workpiece with a line scanner integrated in the system. The user will directly obtain the CAD model for further path planning.

The zoom lens for laser hardening is located in the front of the robot. The hardening path widths can be flexibly adjusted via the system's zoom function. Large surface areas are hardened using multiple paths. Also included in the zoom lens is a temperature measuring system with a control for the laser power. This allows for the surface temperature of the workpiece to be precisely adjusted, and this remains stable even if the local heat dissipation conditions fluctuate, e. g. holes. Local overheating or even melting of the workpiece surface is thereby avoided efficiently. The lens for laser hardening can also be replaced with other lenses, if needed, like those that enable laser manufacturing processes such as laser deposit welding, for example. With the self-propelled caterpillar track, the system can be conveniently moved to the next point of use once the laser hardening process has been completed successfully.

Due to the mobility of the laser hardening system, downtimes of large workpieces, e. g. pressing tools, are drastically reduced, as the time-consuming processes of removing, installing, and transporting the components for hardening are omitted.

(Source: ALPHA LASER GmbH)

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