Firm adopts green laser to manufacture battery components for BMW

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Green lasers are far more efficient for welding copper than IR lasers. (Image: Trumpf)

Vitesco Technologies, a manufacturer of modern drive technologies and electrification solutions, is bringing down its energy consumption when welding copper joints using green laser technology.

The firm recently introduced a 2kW system from Trumpf into its manufacturing operations following three years of application development, making it a pioneer of this technology for serial use.

The laser will be put to work in the mass-production of highly integrated and complex battery management electronics for BMW Group. Already here, the energy consumption for the welding assembly could be reduced by 4 per cent, just by substituting the beam source.

E-mobility continues to be a dramatically growing application area in laser materials processing. At this year’s LASYS for example, Trumpf announced that its turnover for lasers being supplied for electric vehicle production now exceeds that of lasers being supplied for internal combustion engine vehicles.

Compared with standard infrared laser systems used widely in industry today, green lasers can reduce energy consumption when welding copper components for batteries and electric motors by up to 20 per cent – and thus the CO2 footprint per laser welded joint. This is due to the 515nm wavelength of the lasers being absorbed much more efficiently in copper than infrared – for which copper is highly reflective – making the process more controlled as well as sustainable. The lasers cause virtually no copper spatter during welding, which would otherwise increase the complexity of production to mitigate such issues.

‘Green lasers are far more efficient for welding copper than IR lasers, confirmed Rainer Pühl, head of operations in the Electrification Technology business unit. ‘The new systems require less electric power and still deliver an unprecedented stable, repeatable process with a precisely controlled depth of penetration into the copper. Thanks to these features, green laser systems are currently being made into a company-wide standard technology option for certain applications. In addition to electronics, this also applies to electric motors. Among other things, we can use the welding process on a highly efficient stator with 138 welding points per motor.’

Thomas Stierle, member of the executive board at Vitesco Technologies, added: ‘For vehicle manufacturers, sustainability with the highest quality is strategically relevant, therefore our sustainable manufacturing with a smaller CO2 footprint and very stable processes is a competitive advantage. That is why the use of green laser systems is important for us.’

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