Title: Industry 4.0 – Next generation Ultrafast Laser Systems and Ablation Applications
The context of future Laser Applications in modern manufacturing can be summarized by “Digital Photonic Production”. The vision of designing a structure or product in the computer and creating it additively or by ablation with high power ultrafast lasers drives many research topics in this area. But also the integration into production chains with the challenge of meeting the demands of production along the lines of Industry 4.0 is starting to be addressed seriously. From the point of Laser technology, main fields of activity are measurement processes of quality relevant data on-line, process control mechanisms and the combination with automation as a whole. A huge challenge is the data handling and control system technology, which up to now is fragmented and component specific. The need of more integrated data control systems becomes obvious.
Of course, the processes themselves are under intense investigation, such as Laser Ultrafast Ablation and Laser Drilling. Removal rates are the prime goal under economical aspects. New concept and performance results under this aspect will be presented. Also correspondingly increased quality of the resulting products in terms of surface roughness and precision is a key issue of consideration. At ILT the strategy is the continuous improvement of average power of ps- and fs-Laser sources. The present world record in sub ps-pulse durations is 1.5 kW demonstrated in Aachen. What are the limits of such scaling attempts? Ongoing projects are discussed, in which the power is scheduled to reach values of 5-10 kW in the near future.
To address these challenges effectively, new ways of collaboration of Public Private Partnerships PPP are believed to be successful. Examples of strategic PPP collaboration will be given, the BMBF-Research-Campus-project DPP will be displayed in its present status especially under the aspect of ultrafast ablation. Ultimately the development resulted in the “Innovation Center for Digital Photonic Production”, a conglomerate of app. 20 companies locating their research activities in the corresponding new building in close cooperation and vicinity with ILT and the RWTH Laser University Chairs.
On the very fundamental side, research topics and roadmaps identified by15 interdisciplinary collaborating RWTH-chairs in the frame of the “Research Center for Digital Photonic Production” will be demonstrated and discussed. Its home will be a corresponding building, which is under construction and will come to operation in the very near future.
Reinhart Poprawe has worked in the laser industry and its related organizations for over 30 years. He received an M.A. in physics from California State University in Fresno in 1977. After completion of his Ph.D. in physics (Darmstadt, 1984) he joined the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT) in Aachen, Germany wher he worked as head of a department for laser-oriented process development. Prof. Poprawe started Thyssen Laser Technik GMBH in 1988 and was the company’s CEO. Since 1996, he has been managing director of Fraunhofer ILT and holds the University Chair for Laser Technology at the RWTH Aachen. In 2004 he served as vice rector of Aachen University and currently is a member of several boards in the scientific and industrial organizations, e.g. the AKL Arbeitskreis Lasertechnik e. V. Aachen. He also chairs the RWTH International Board and is the Rectors delegate for China.