The overall objective of the MultiFlex project is to open a market within the European manufacturing sector for high speed Ultra-Short Pulse (USP) processing using kilowatt average laser power and individually modulated multi-beams.
At present Ultra-Short-Pulse-processes are cost-effective only for some specific industrial applications. With commercial available USP-laser-sources and scanning systems contradictory demands regarding precision, flexibility and throughput are often not satisfied simultaneously. Either the available beam power is too small to achieve the desired and necessary throughput, or - in most cases - the high power cannot be applied for achieving high precision high quality processing. The MultiFlex project will overcome this obstacle and pave the way for a widespread, cost-effective application of USP-lasers in industrial manufacturing.
The basic idea behind MultiFlex is to setup a high power "USP laser-dot-matrix-printer", which consists of a newly developed high power ultrashort pulsed laser with an output power of more than 1 kilowatt and a flexible multi beam optics concept.
Besides the high average power, the laser source provides pulse durations in the femtosecond regime to ensure highest possible process efficiency and quality. The development of a fast, flexible and robust control of the laser pulses is mandatory to ensure highest possible precision.
The high power laser beam is split into a matrix of multi-beams. By enabling the flexible switching of the separated single beams and a control system for compensating field distortions, arbitrary surface structures can be generated with highest precision and throughput.
The USP-laser-dot-matrix-printer developed within MultiFlex will be evaluated on several demonstrator parts as well as in two industrial use cases provided by associated industrial partners (Continental AG & Volkswagen AG).