Laser Drilling of CFRP Components in Large Quantities

Laser-drilled holes in an aircraft component made of CFRP. (Source: LZH)

Laser-drilled holes in an aircraft component made of CFRP. (Source: LZH)

For aviation in particular, the drilling of CFRP has an enormous market potential. The aircraft manufacturers produce increasing quantities with a high number of drilled holes for riveted and screwed joints. This requires reliable, fast and cost-efficient processes to withstand international competition. For this purpose, laser beam drilling is an ideal alternative to conventional processes.

In the project “Laser Beam Drilling of Composites for Applications in Aviation” LABOKOMP, the partners focus on the development of customized processing strategies using a new, high pulse laser beam source.

To design a process that suits industrial needs, a tailor-made system, handling and monitoring technique shall finally be made available to the users. Only thus, the highly precise and dynamic handling and processing of high-quality serial components can be achieved.

Within the scope of the project, the small and medium-sized enterprises Invent and KMS Technology Center, as well as the large enterprises Trumpf and Premium Aerotec, develop automated clamping and positioning systems that include, among other things, an integrated vibration recognition and damping. Unlike conventional separation processes, a single clamping system can be used for all component variants here. To provide a comprehensive entire process, the supply and exhaust of process gases and emissions as well as the cooling of the workpieces are optimized, too.

Investigations and material tests with the aim to minimize the thermal stress on laser-drilled CFRP components, and at the same time increasing the efficiency through a tailor-made process control – these are the work priorities of the LZH experts in the Composites Group of the Production and Systems Department. Apart from the manufacturing of small components in large quantities, the novel process strategy shall be transferred to the assembly of large structures, too, in the future.

This project is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research BMBF within the scope of the “KMU-innovativ: Photonik” initiative for a duration of three years. (Source: LZH)

Links: LZH Dept. Production and Systems, Composites Group • Invent GmbH, Braunschweig, Germany • KMS Automation GmbH, Schramberg-Waldmössing, Germany • TRUMPF Laser- und Systemtechnik GmbH, Ditzingen, Germany • Premium AEROTEC GmbH, Augsburg, Germany • KMU-innovativ: Photonik, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung BMBF, Berlin, Germany

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