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  • Project Aims to Enhance Europe’s Laser Competitiveness
Nov 2013
AACHEN, Germany, Nov. 21, 2013 — A new project aims to bring industry and business together to speed the market launches of a variety of laser applications.

The four-year, €15 million LASHARE project will give more than 30 small- and medium-sized enterprizes (SMEs) a helping hand while also enhancing the competitiveness of the European laser industry by accelerating technology transfer. SMEs often face challenges such as how to take new manufacturing processes designed to facilitate efficient production and make them accessible to industry users.

LASHARE, supported by the Seventh Framework Programme Factories of the Future, involves six European research institutes and is led by Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (Fraunhofer ILT). The Sept. 25-27 launch event brought together 38 industry and research partners to determine relevant targets, metrics and procedures for the program, which provides the basis to accelerate the development of laser-based equipment demonstrated in the lab and help prepare it for manufacturing.

The LASHARE consortium at the launch event in Aachen, Germany, on Sept. 26. Courtesy of Fraunhofer ILT.

Laser-based manufacturing processes have long led the way, Fraunhofer ILT said, but often these manufacturing techniques use specific, stand-alone solutions previously demonstrated only in a laboratory setting.

LASHARE has launched 14 “Laser-based Equipment Assessments” (LEAs), which will define the industrial requirements, technical solutions and laser-based solutions for laser applications ranging from the welding of ship components to the nanostructuring of surfaces using ultrashort-pulse lasers. The LEAs will be joined by eight to 12 others during the project, Fraunhofer said.

First, users will define the industrial requirements for the laser-based equipment, which they will later evaluate in an industrial-scale manufacturing setting at the end of the LEA. Research partners, working with the users and suppliers, will establish the “LASHARE Assessment Framework,” which will define the best technical solution for the requirements provided. Suppliers will use the results from the framework and implement robust laser-based solutions that meet end-user requirements.

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