3-D Laser Cutting of Hot-Stamped Steels
This new type of metalforming requires a new generation of 3D processing equipment for trimming and piercing. While traditional mechanical equipment used to trim and pierce formed parts results in extremely high tool wear, laser-beam cutting, according to Antonio Rotunno, director of technical services for Prima North America, Chicopee, MA, offers manufacturers a way to easily and accurately adjust trim lines and feature size or location. And, the thermal reaction required for laser cutting is unaffected by steel strength.
In 1995, Rotunno says, hot-formed parts were laser-cut using oxygen as the assist gas. Cutting speeds were around 100 in./min. Today, lasers with higher beam quality and power to 5000 W allow cutting with an inert assist gas such as nitrogen, with speeds in excess of 780 in./min. The cut edges are free from oxide and therefore are weld- and paint-ready with no secondary operations required.
Prima has deployed 3-D laser-cutting systems in hot-stamping applications throughout Europe and North America, including automotive supplier SSAB HardTech, a manufacturer of safety components (acquired by Gestamp in 2005).
Prima North America: 413/598 5200; www.prima-na.com
See also: Prima Electro North America, LLC
Related Enterprise Zones: Fabrication
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