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Experts convene in Milan for LaserEMobility Workshop

More than 240 attended the event in the Carassa Dadda Hall of Politecnico di Milano

Professor Ali Gokhan Demir on the recent LaserEMobility Workshop in Milan, where the laser manufacturing community convened to discuss applications in electric vehicle production

On 13 and 14 March, the LaserEMobility Workshop 2023 was held in Politecnico di Milano. The Politecnico di Milano and the University of Bologna, together with the Technical University of Munich have been organising the second edition of the networking event.

The LaserEMobility section of AITeM Italian Manufacturing Association (AITeM), founded in 2020 and consisting of the organising universities and the industrial members IMA Automation Atop, Manz, and Raylase committed itself to research, networking, and collaboration activities surrounding the application of laser processes in the electromobility sector.

The LaserEMobility Workshop is one of the central activities of this section. This year’s event demonstrated the strong growth of the community, with more than 240 attendees and 15 sponsors, representing some of the most influential companies in the laser based manufacturing field. The two-day programme was filled with high-level technical presentations from both industry and academia.

This year, there were 21 industrial presentations, complemented by 16 academic presentations and 10 poster presentations, to trigger a scientific exchange between industry and academic institutions. The presentations covered a variety of discussion topics, from more conventional topics such as battery systems and e-drives, to more enlarged discussions about fuel cells, body-in-white, and new battery materials. While welding applications still dominate the main discussion topics, laser cutting, texturing, and additive manufacturing applications are finding more space in the electric mobility domain.

The opening speeches during LaserEMobility Workshop 2023

The opening speeches during LaserEMobility Workshop 2023.

Laser based manufacturing is being pushed towards more complex material systems, with ever increased productivity requirements; a target of efficient material utilisation and zero-defect manufacturing. Contemporary laser sources provide the flexibility in terms of manipulating the beam in space, time, and wavelength, and are intrinsically ready for inline monitoring. Such properties make laser a perfect digital tool for e-mobility. On the other hand, methodological studies assessing the right beam-material combination are very much required. LaserEMobility Workshop constitutes a meeting point to showcase and openly discuss the technologies, as witnessed clearly during this year’s event.

On the first days, the organisers, Professors Ali Gökhan Demir, Michael F. Zäh, and Alessandro Fortunato opened the event. The welcoming speeches of Prof. Luca Settineri, the president of AITEM and Prof. Belloli, Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the Politecnico di Milano emphasised the importance of production research in the field of electromobility and congratulated the organisers on such a fast-growing and successful event. Prof. Demir illustrated the numbers and figures of this year’s event, highlighting the overwhelmingly high participation from the community, and the need for communication and networking to tackle the existing and upcoming challenges of the e-mobility demand.

The first half of the first day was dedicated to Advanced beam control and system design for E-Mobility spread over three industrial sessions. Within the first session, Thomas Hofmeister (Coherent), Matthias Beranek (Trumpf), and Stefano Cattaneo (IPG Photonics) gave perspectives of laser manufacturers on processes and monitoring options for electromobility. Speeches from Christian Dini (Civan), Stefano Zarini (Optoprim), Jan Bernd Habedank (Raylase), Antonio Raspa (Luxinar), and Marcello Bianchi (Lumentum) followed. In the afternoon, Markus Kogel-Hollacher (Prectitec), Leonardo Daniele Scintilla (Fontana Group), Luca Schmerbeck (Sonplas), Andrea Gariano (Pomini), and Guiliano Ellena (Podium Tech) complemented the industrial presentations on the first day. After that, the audience had the possibility to choose between two academic sessions. One was dedicated to Advanced joining solutions with talks from Joerg Volpp (Lulea University of Technology), Murat Reis (Bursa Uludag University), Danijela Rostohar (Coventry University), and Lukas Mayr (Technical University of Munich). The presenters demonstrated different welding approaches covering pulsed and continuous wave as well as handheld laser welding processes. The other included speeches from Max Biegler (Fraunhofer IPK), Avelino Zapata (Technical University of Munich), Caterina Angeloni (University of Bologna), and Carlo Biffi (CNR ICMATE Unit of Lecco) were focused on Sustainability and design. One of the first day´s highlights was a laboratory tour with live demonstrations at the Mechanical Engineering department of the Politecnico di Milano. The demonstrations covered topics from pulsed laser processing to laser-based additive manufacturing as well as sensor systems and data interpretation.

Networking is a key part of LaserEMobility Workshop. The attendees had the chance to continue discussions and view the exhibition hall throughout the breaks.

Networking is a key part of LaserEMobility Workshop. The attendees had the chance to continue discussions and view the exhibition hall throughout the breaks.

Prof. Zäh from the Technical University of Munich opened the second day, emphasising the need to transform in the energy sector. Afterward, the industrial session on Advanced beam control and system design for E-Mobility continued, giving the floor to Felix Roeckel (Manz), Davide Chesi (IMA Automation Atop), Eric Punzel (BBW), Daniele Colombo (ADIGE Spa – BLM Group), and Valentin Schmid (Grob). Before lunch, a roundtable discussion with high-profile stakeholders from industry was dedicated to the transformation to electromobility from various viewpoints. Panelists included Prof. Gianpiero Mastinu from Politecnico di Milano who is also Lombardy Mobility Cluster Secretary General, Aldo D'Ambrosio from Comau, Davide Ferrario from Streparava, and Gerhard Hautmann of Libattion. The discussion illustrated the socio-economic challenges, as well as technological changes expected during the change towards electrification. 

In the afternoon, academic parallel sessions on Process monitoring and data analysis and Novel and functional materials allowed the listeners to choose between two topics. Leonardo Caprio (Politecnico di Milano), Florian Kaufmann (Bayerisches Laserzentrum), Eyitayo Olatunde Olakanmi (Botswana International University of Science and Technology), and Pasquale Franciosa (University of Warwick) demonstrated approaches for the supervision of laser processes, the processing of sensor data, and its usage for improved process control. Max-Jonathan Kleefoot (Aalen University), Lucas Hille (Technical University of Munich), Ahmad Zafari (University of Twente), and Craig Milroy (The University of Texas at Austin) presented topics on surface functionalisation and laser-based manufacturing, also covering the influences of laser-based production processes on the electrochemical functionality of batteries and fuel cells. Ruben Hartwig (Primes), Gwenn Pallier (Cailabs), and A. Kapxhiu, together with D. Buttaci (Marposs) closed the second day with industrial speeches from the Advanced beam control and system design for E-mobility field.

Figure 4: During the visit to SITEC – Laboratory for Laser Applications at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Politecnico di Milano the attendees had the chance to observe some of the laser technologies for e-mobility in live action.

During the visit to SITEC – Laboratory for Laser Applications at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Politecnico di Milano, the attendees had the chance to observe some of the laser technologies for e-mobility in live action.

Selected research, which was presented at the LaserEMobility Workshop 2023, will be published in the special issue LaserEMobility 2023 – Lasers as enabling manufacturing tools in e-mobility of the Springer journal Lasers In Manufacturing and Materials Processing after passing through a peer-review process, allowing stakeholders from industry and academia an insight into the latest trends of laser technology application within the electric transformation of the mobility sector.

Overall, the event attracted speakers from more than 10 countries. Many of the presenting companies highlighted the industry´s need for qualified professionals, underlining the importance of networking events such as the LaserEMobility Workshop not only for the exchange of ideas and knowledge but also for transferring professionals from academia to industry. Throughout the event, the exhibition booths displayed the latest laser system technology trends. Furthermore, the breaks were used for networking and an in-depth discussion of the shown scientific and technical research results.

LaserEMobility Workshop 2023 came into its conclusion with an enthusiastic audience looking forward to next year’s edition. In the meanwhile, LaserEMobility will continue to create network and know-how for laser-based manufacturing in EV sector.

The Workshop programme and the abstract book can be accessed here.

Dr Ali Gokhan Demir works at SITEC – Laboratory for Laser Applications at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Politecnico di Milano

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