Fraunhofer ILT’s LaserTAB Combines Welding, 3D Printing and Robotics
At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.
Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed itself. In focus is a new light-weight robot (LBR is German for lightweight robot) developed by Kuka Roboter GmbH from Augsburg. According to company statements, not only is the LBR iiwa, or “intelligent industrial work assistant (iiwa)”, the first sensitive robot to be manufactured in series, but it also helps man and robot work closely together.
Spacer provides optical distance
The Aachen researchers have mounted a relay-optic and a spacer on the collaborating robot (Cobot), the latter of which ensures that the optics complies with the distance (focal length) required for the process. The LBR iiwa “feels” when the spacer touches the weld and starts the welding process. Thus, the welding points are always held at a constant distance from the lens thanks to the spacer and the sensing robot.
In Munich, Fraunhofer ILT will be using concrete applications to demonstrate how the microjoining process in battery technology can be made more precise and reliable with the help of this lightweight robot. In detail, it is addressing how to better weld prismatic, round and pouch cells. In a demonstration, the institute combines the two processes of microjoining and 3D printing, in which this welding process plays a leading technical role. The Aachen-based scientists will be presenting a technology demonstrator on how a copper contact element can be connected to a round cell via LaserTAB.