Complete laser processes - from the power socket to the process zone - can now be mapped in the form of data and then monitored and controlled. That's why the optics, sensors and beam sources are the perfect choice of tool to integrate in the digital world of the smart factory. The data they generate can be made available to many of the applications that are becoming standard in Industry 4.0, such as quality data storage and cockpits for data visualization. With remote access to the laser via a secure IT system, customers can also choose to benefit from the expertise and experience TRUMPF technicians have accumulated for a range of applications by taking advantage of services such as condition-based monitoring and predictive maintenance. The data is transmitted through encrypted channels to a cloud, where a combination of algorithms and real TRUMPF experts evaluate it to produce trend analyses. That paves the way for predicting anomalies and their effects in the machining process, leading to major improvements in machine availability.
The new TruFiber generation
Beam sources themselves also contribute to creating simpler and smarter ways to configure optimum integration in higher-level machines. Good examples include the TruDisk beam sources as well as the new generation of TruFiber beam sources, such as the TruFiber 2000.
Easy integration stems from a number of different factors, including a compact laser design, flexible interfaces to all common fieldbus systems, and the maximum laser safety rating with Performance Level 'e'. Other helpful features include integrated laser power control in real time for even more reliable process results, the option of incorporating a compressor cooling system in the laser cabinet, and cooling of peripheral components via the beam source.
The way these beam sources work in practice reflects a trend toward better beam quality - a trend that has multiple explanations. "On the one hand, beam quality is one of the keys to overall process productivity," says Schneider. The TruFiber 2000 generates perfect single-mode output, enabling very small focal diameters with high power densities. "But, on top of that, better quality beams enable a larger scan field during remote processing," says Schneider. Both beam sources are an excellent choice not only for welding processes with linear feed, but also wobbling welding, a technique that involves oscillation overlaid with forward motion of the beam. The process offers improvements in weld seam quality as well as flexible adjustment of the weld seam width. The very high beam quality in this case yields greater penetration depth without having to increase laser power.