Laser technology in the automotive industry

Laser cutting - laser engraving - laser marking

– or in other words: new innovations in the automobile market would be almost impossible and uneconomic without laser technology. This is illustrated by a list of the applications of laser technology that are already in successful use today:

  • Airbags
  • Back injection moulded plastic fittings (interior)
  • Blackout materials (curtains) for HGVs or motor caravans
  • Coatings for A-B-C column trims
  • Convertible roofs
  • Flexible printed circuits (fittings)
  • Floor coverings (interior)
  • Front membranes for control panels (interior functions)
  • Injection moulding and sprue separation (e.g. on gear lever knob or Plexiglas screen over speedometer)
  • Insulating foils in the engine compartment (glass fibre reinforced aluminium)
  • Interior air conditioning filters
  • Labels/identifiers (brand emblems etc.)
  • Lightweight carbon components (interior/exterior)
  • Passenger detection sensors (piezo foils)
  • Product identification (safety-related components)
  • Refractive engraving of indirect controls and lighting elements
  • Roof lining (interior)
  • Seals
  • Self-adhesive foils (type designations, decals... exterior)
  • Spacer fabrics for upholstery (interior)
  • Speedometer dial displays (interior functions)
  • Suppression materials (noise suppression, fiberglass)
  • Wind deflectors (sliding roofs, windows)
  • Windblocker on convertibles

The marked advantages of laser technology can be used to particular benefit in many respects in the automobile industry. Concentrated light with ultra-precision cutting excels both in the initial design of parts and components as well as in simplified assembly with its significantly higher quality.

This applies particularly to the interior and to functional elements such as ambient lighting and fittings, trim and display instruments. A continuous reduction of component costs and assembly cycle times has enabled suppliers and manufacturers in Europe to remain competitive in a contested global market.

New, intelligent or multifunction materials can often only be finished with a laser. Non-contact cutting with no damage to the material opens up new horizons in manufacturing technology.

The question is, to what extent conventional cutting and stamping processes will continue to be pursued. The purchase of a laser machining system often pays for itself with a single annual order.

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