The demand for fiber composite components is constantly increasing due to the growing importance of energy and resource efficiency and the simultaneous demand for increasing component performance. For manufacturing technology, this means that above all process chains have to be simplified and costs reduced despite a large variety of geometries in order to achieve a sustainable penetration of the application with fibre composite components. Fibre composite components can be produced on the basis of near-net-shape textile preforms. Currently, automated production of preforms is only economical for large quantities. Medium and small batch sizes are therefore often characterised by a high proportion of manual work steps.

The main objective and core innovation of the CarboLase project is the combination of productive 2D CNC cutting, high-precision laser material processing of textile preforms using ultra-short pulsed (UKP) laser radiation and fully automatic handling of individual preforms with integration of metallic inserts. Precisely fitting recesses are made in preforms by laser and functional elements are automatically integrated. The technologies will be integrated into a robotic cell that will create a highly flexible, hybrid production system using flexible software/hardware interfaces and sensors in the production process. The process cell thus permits just-in-time production for FVK components, independent of component geometry and batch size.

Industry and research work closely together in this project. The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is working together with Amphos GmbH on laser technology tasks in the project context. As a system integrator, LUNOVU GmbH accompanies the networking of individual process steps and implements the integration of sensors into the robotic cell at the Institute of Textile Technology at RWTH Aachen University ITA. The KOHLHAGE Fasteners GmbH & Co. KG develops the automated provision and integration of force introduction elements. The ITA takes over the implementation of the automated process chain for the production of the laser-machined preforms in close cooperation with all project partners.

This project is funded by the European Union and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.