TWI is currently one of six laser research institutes involved in the LASHARE suite of projects to accelerate the development of laser-based equipment and encourage the adoption of lasers in manufacturing operations across Europe. LASHARE, Sharing Laser Expertise for the Benefits of SMEs, is funded under the EU Seventh Framework programme and began in September 2013 with the aim of introducing innovative practice to increase the competitiveness of producers.
LASHARE is assisting technology transfer of new laser-based techniques by providing a robust framework for the assessment of laser equipment and technologies. This covers the entire value chain, from technology components, such as the laser source, to customised equipment for a given manufacturing application.
LASHARE currently comprises 14 laser equipment assessment (LEA) studies. TWI has been involved in one of these known as NEXTCUT, which is assessing the use of a high-power direct diode laser for metal cutting applications. This LEA is validating end-user benefits, such as increased productivity and reduced operating costs by:
- producing and integrating a diode laser source with a CNC flatbed system for cutting
- carrying out an experimental matrix of cutting trials based upon the typical European job shop requirements
- performing production-like validation of the equipment in a job-shop environment.
Call for additional partners
The LASHARE collaboration is seeking additional partners in a project call opening on 1 February 2015 focusing on sensors and knowledge-based ICT systems for flexible manufacturing and process control. For more information about joining this sub-project see the Competitive Call page of the project website or contact email@example.com
TWI has been active in the development of laser processing since the 1960s and has accumulated experience in all aspects of the technology, from surface transformation hardening, microjoining to additive manufacturing, thick-section welding and specialist cutting. For more information, please see our web pages or contact us.