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Laser Welding Research Hall Opens

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GEESTHACHT, Germany, May 10, 2010 — A new hall with a semi-industrial laser system has been built at the GKSS Research Center in Geesthacht in collaboration with Airbus Deutschland GmbH. GKSS invested approximately €1 million in the hall, which officially opened April 19.

The new system will be used to research laser beam welding of new lightweight construction alloys, among other areas. The material researchers from Geesthacht are taking over the system from the Airbus location in Nordenham.

Assembly of laser welding head.

The new system will be used to optimize welding technologies for innovative lightweight alloys in joint research and development projects. With the pilot welding system, it is now possible to weld up to a length of about 9 m in the newly constructed hall.

"The system is ideal for our research in the area of strength and reliability of laser welded lightweight structures," said Norbert Huber, head of Material Mechanics at GKSS. 

Although investigation at Airbus in Nordenham focused on laser beam welding of length-stiffened profiles (stringers) for the external skin of the aluminum fuselage structure of aircrafts, the focus of investigation in Geesthacht is welding of sample models and test components for aircraft fuselage shells.

One challenge in modern aircraft and vehicle manufacturing is weight and cost. To produce the fuselage of an aircraft, for example, laser beam welding is increasingly used as a substitute for the traditional technology of riveting. This particularly saves weight and, with it, carbon dioxide emissions, while reducing production time.

In aircraft manufacturing, strict safety regulations also must be observed. Computer simulations and complicated tests are required, which include the welded seams.

The laser welding hall is equipped with a semi-industrial laser system.

Among other techniques, the materials researchers at Geesthacht use the established GKSS characterization method with neutron and synchrotron radiation for this purpose.

In the future, the GKSS Research Center will be geared toward development of new lightweight materials and material systems. To this end, construction of the pioneering GKSS "Light-weight Materials Assessment, Computing and Engineering Center" (Ace) is planned. The new laser system will be part of this expansion.

The particular strength of the Ace research platform will lie in the combination of processing, characterization and simulation methods. This includes both joining technology and production of sample multimaterial systems and complex lightweight structures.

As a further area of research, for example, models will be developed to enable prediction of failure behavior of such structures under loads similar to real operation.

For more information, visit:
May 2010
Airbus Deutschlandaluminum fuselageBusinessEuropefuselage shellsGermanyGKSS Research Centerindustriallaser beam weldinglaser weldingLight-weight Materials Assessment Computing and Engineering Centerlightweight construction alloysneutron and synchrotron radiationNorbert HuberResearch & Technologysemi-industrial laserwelded seamswelding technologieslasers

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