When international automotive suppliers use production lines for manufacturing parts of the exhaust gas system, these are often laser welding system made in Müllheim. Cost pressure, quality requirements and flexible production conditions dictate developments within the automotive industry.
With the Ecostar 200/600, a highly flexible tube production line is leaving the main factory to produce tubes for catalytic converter housings in 10-second cycles. Before the tube leaves the machine, the laser-welded seam is annealed, strengthening it for higher loads. To be able to track the quality of every component, a DataMatrix Code is applied by a marking laser, which allows product seam tracking (Industry 4.0).
The machine is attended by an operator in the production process and adjusts automatically to the selected program after program selection. The program memory contains all the machine’s roll forming and welding parameters.
Calls for flexibility in tube production in terms of length and diameter range and the minimization and elimination of retooling times were requirements on a machine concept that is successful in the material thickness range of 0.5 to 2.0 mm.
Program-controlled retooling and the automatic adaptation of diameters in the roll forming and welding area such as have already been successfully implemented in various machines are at the heart of the Ecostar. The roll-formed sheet is joined by radially movable clamping bars on the outside and continuously welded under a vertical laser optic.
Flexible clamping and welding up to 2.0 mm sheet thickness
The Ecostar has been designed for a diameter range of 60 - 200 mm, tube lengths between 50 - 600 mm and sheet thicknesses from 0.5 to 2.0 mm. For these reasons, this machine is ideal for the production of catalytic converter housings, small round/oval containers, pressure tanks and the like in the given dimensions.
Alongside the benefits for modern short tube production without forming rework of the tubes already achieved, the machine provides a great freedom of choice in terms of tube geometry. Optimum roll-forming results are achieved by edge forming. Round or oval geometries – alternating if required – can be reproduced in stable process quality from batch sizes of just 1.
The use of a diode laser is efficient in terms of both investment and operating costs.