CUSTODIAN is the first project aimed at valuing the unique ability of the laser to make a personalized energy contribution to the needs of material, a task that, at present, is not possible with other technology.
The project will make it possible for any laser process to be designed exactly according to the thermal transformation required by the material, which will mean a significant benefit in terms of productivity, quality and cost reduction.
The project contemplates real applications for laser welding in the automotive sector and additive manufacturing for the aeronautical industry.
AIMEN Centro Tecnológico leads the European project CUSTODIAN, an initiative that seeks to develop a laser device that will allow to customize the laser beam according to its application and that will be validated in the automotive and aeronautical sectors, for welding and additive manufacturing, respectively. With a budget of 4.8 million euros, the project is part of the Horizon 2020 programme and the consortium that develops it is made up of ten partners from Spain, Italy, France, Austria and Germany.
CUSTODIAN is the first project aimed at valuing the unique capacity of the laser to make a personalized energy contribution to the needs of material, a task that, at present, is not possible with other technology. To this end, it will develop a methodology to customize the laser to adapt it to the ideal thermal cycle depending on the application to be executed, using simulation and microstructural analysis to achieve defect-free processing of the material by maintaining its initial properties.
This methodology includes the determination of the optimum thermal cycle for each process; the development of a photonic system that includes a laser beam that can be adapted and reconfigured during the process to achieve these ideal parameters; and the design of a real-time monitoring and control system. In this way, the CUSTODIAN project will make it possible for any laser process to be designed exactly according to the thermal transformation required by the material, which will mean an important benefit in terms of productivity and quality, as it will allow optimum parts to be manufactured at the first time, avoiding subsequent rework and, consequently, will imply a reduction in costs.
The project contemplates two specific applications. In this case, they will be laser welding for the automotive company Magneti Marelli, and additive laser manufacturing for GFM, a firm in the aeronautical sector. However, the methodology will be extendable to any application or sector that uses laser technology for processing all types of mechanical material.
The CUSTODIAN consortium, led by AIMEN, is completed by the following entities: AIDIMME (Spain), NIT (Spain), SECPhO, Politecnico di Milano (Italy), Magneti Marelli (Italy), GFM (Italy), CAILabs (France), TU Wien – Technical University of Vienna (Austria), Precitec (Germany).
Within the framework of the initiative, AIMEN will be the coordinator and, from the technical point of view, will actively participate as an expert in laser manufacturing processes and will lead the development of the process control system in real time. For AIMEN, this project means its consolidation as a world reference centre in laser control processes and technologies and as a prestigious entity in the leadership of European projects.