Göcke doubles up – TS 5.12
Just as in a game of poker, there are those who fold when facing “critical” situations in the working world, allowing themselves to be dragged down by events, and those, on the other hand, who raise and double up. In short, there are those who face up to and act upon a static market, often by making courageous choices that to many […]
Just as in a game of poker, there are those who fold when facing “critical” situations in the working world, allowing themselves to be dragged down by events, and those, on the other hand, who raise and double up. In short, there are those who face up to and act upon a static market, often by making courageous choices that to many may seem hazardous. This is the case of Wihelm Göcke, who together with his son Jörg, manages Göcke Umformtechnik Gmbh, a company specialising in special products and productions for the transport industry, that has decided to double its productive capability by buying a second laser cutting and welding system for producing sizes of sheet metal that are not available on the market. Yes! This is precisely what Göcke specialises in; moulding products in an unexceptionable and fast way, according to the unusual sizes and dimensions that it obtains from joining smaller sheet metals, and trimming and welding them together with the most innovative laser technology.
Reinvesting to grow again
It was in 2007 when the Göckes, father and son, decided to invest in a TTM Laser TS 4.20 fully automatic system, which has the capacity of producing semi-finished sheet metal of large dimensions, as used in the transport industry, especially in the rail industry. It is no coincidence that in 2010, with this system, TÜV NORD granted the company UNI EN ISO 15085 certification for welding processes within the rail industry. The system is introduced into an automatic line for the construction of carbon and stainless steel body sides, with a thickness of between 1 and 8 mm, for urban transport. The system installed by Göcke uses a stationary positioned Trumpf TLF5000 as its power source. It automatically trims and welds, crosswise, sizes of up to 4m in width and 20 m in length, with extremely fine seams that are not prone to shrinkage. “Offering innovative solutions for all sizes means having to constantly update production” explains Mr. Göcke. “We work with a modern machine park which is constantly reorganised and renewed according to the most upto- date technical standards. We make a constant effort to always be innovative. This is the reason behind the choice made in 2007, and the one made now. Even back then, the growing request for large format welding lead us to making a quick decision: to either give a quantity of orders to external entities or to keep them internal, investing in a new laser cutting and welding system. In substance, the decision to install TS 4.20 was the classic “make or buy” choice: we outsource work or in the future we also want to carry out production internally according to our high quality standards. The volume of orders has increased notably since we decided to invest in this kind of system in order to move in new directions. We hope, as we are also convinced, that the same thing will also happen with the new TS 5.12, thereby shifting our market and enabling it to recommence in the right way. If we hadn’t installed the TS 4.20 in 2007, the crisis of the last few years would most definitely have hit us harder and permanently. Instead, the choices made have meant that we have only been slightly affected. However, today we wish to go back to growing and the choice of TTM’s TS 5.12 is the means for us to move in this direction”.
Laser longitudinal cutting and welding
Unlike the TS 4.20, TTM’s TS 5.12 is a fully automatic line for producing large formats with different thicknesses, and this best fulfills the production needs of Göcke Umformtechnik Gmbh. The TS 5.12 can join sheet metal of different materials and thickness up to 12 m in length, longitudinally. The system’s typical applications are the longitudinal welding of sheet metal with high mechanical properties, among which, for example, sheets of highly resistant steel. The TS 5.12 system loads two or more sheets of metal, of up to 12 m in length, automatically and can combine several trimming and welding procedures in order to obtain various different semi-finished product configurations, between them also joining several sheet metals with different lengths, widths, materials and thicknesses. The accurate mechanical design of this system has also allowed for transport on the main cart of the CO2 Trumpf TLF5000 power source.
The basic idea behind this machine concept is that of creating formats that are larger than those produced by previous accessories. In fact, the TS 5.12 allows for the creation of sheets with a maximum width of 5.000 mm and length of 12 m. The machine is not limited to welding sheets of the same size; it also allows for the easy joining of different width strips, of a different material, as well as a different thickness, thereby actually permitting the construction of made-to-measure sheets, limiting the maximum weight and increasing the resistance capacity of the finished product. The latter is in fact an important factor, above all in thetransport industry, where the trend is increasingly more emphasised on and aimed at reduction in weight, which is equivalent to a decrease in consumption together with an increase in the resistance capacity necessary for addressing the issue of high velocity in the rail industry. The TS 5.12 therefore allows for the automatic feed of strips with a minimum width of 600 mm and a maximum of 2.600 mm, weldingthem together until the programmed sized sheet is obtained.
A finished and guaranteed product
One of the outstanding novelties introduced by this new machine are the process control methodologies and certification of the finished product. One of the recurring problems with these products is actually the inherent quality of the welding. TTM has done some important work in this direction and, thanks to the machine concept which foresees the use of two laser tests, the TS 5.12 offers, for the first time, welding process control systems together with a non-destructive control which certifies the product in a definite and guaranteed manner.
For the real time quality control of the welding being carried out, the TS 5.12 is equipped with a system that is able to read the principal physical parameters of the welding process, such as the temperature of the molten baths, the formation of plasma and the amount of reflected light. These readings are constantly elaborated and compared to readings stored in a te-chnological data base. Any deviation in the readings taken, in respect to the standard reference of average readings, is analysed by software which automatically determines if the welding carried out is satisfactory and that the quality is constant. It is therefore evident, thanks to the introduction of these two control systems on the machine itself, that the standard of welding is guaranteed, with the possibility, in the event that accidental factors have caused non-conformi-ty, of immediately taking the sheet metal and repeating the trimming and welding process in order to deliver a finished and guaranteed product.
Joint detection, size and tracking
TTM incorporates sensors into its welding systems in order to track, in real time, the joint and off-line mapping of the same through the use of a coaxial chamber mounted on the weld head or else with external laser sensors. The reconstruction of the trajectory is then entrusted to a numerical elaboration of the image that is managed by the central controller. The use of extremely fast real-time hardware, such as FPGA or multiprocessor systems, guarantees the computing power necessary for theanalysis of large amounts of data.
For very stringent applications, where it is necessary to precisely evaluate the geometrical characteristics of the joint before welding (position, significant presence of even very narrow gaps), TTM has developed a mapping software based on high precision biodimensional laser triangulation, in order to scan the shape of the profile in a direction orthogonal to a weld line. In this way, the system is able to modify, fully automatically, the theoretical trajectory of the welding used as far as the actual positioning of the piece is concerned and to immediatelyalter the main process parameters (laser power, welding speed and the amount of filler material) for the actual sizes of the joints. It is also possible to install the PUSH-PUSH wire feeding system, which guarantees maximum performance in terms of the precision and speed of response of the feed speed control system. Special applications, such as the wobble system (oscillating mirror) and twin-spot optic systems can also be used. The use of these solutions arises from the need to widen the beam transversely to the welding direction, or to pre-heat the material.