CO₂ Laser Enables Automotive Mass Customization
In their words
“The introduction of laser technology has enabled us to definitely expand our addressable markets, since variant production from standard plastic parts and sheet metal processing would not have been possible without the laser systems.”
— Armin Buchsteiner, Managing Director & co-owner of Bröking-Plastex
Front and rear aprons, headlight covers, air filter housings, side panels, radiator grills or sun visors are made of polypropylene, polyurethane, polyethylene, polyamide or polymethyl methacrylate. The list of plastics and their products in automotive engineering is long − about a quarter of all components in passenger cars now consist of a wide variety of plastics. The reasons for this are as varied as the possible applications: considerable weight savings and corrosion resistance compared to metals, greater comfort thanks to better noise absorption, more flexible design options and, of course, lower costs.
At Bröking-Plastex, the company premises are continually filled with pallets from well-known automotive suppliers, underlining its important role in the automotive industry. The fact that the automotive industry plays an important role is also underlined by the many pallets from well-known automotive suppliers on the company premises for which Bröking- Plastex processes parts. "We call our specialty Variant Production from Standard Injection Moulded Parts," explains the 40-year-old industrial engineer, who worked in the automotive industry before joining his father's company and therefore knows the market well. He explains what he means by this: "Today, for example, there is a much greater variety. Virtually every passenger car model is delivered in manifold variations. Although this only results in a few changes to individual assemblies or parts, it always leads to smaller production lot sizes. And this is where we come in. With our focus on variant generation, we save injection moulding manufacturers the investment in dedicated tools and knowledge by using lasers to produce special parts for the various models from standard components. For example, we cut the recesses in front and rear aprons, on which finished trim strips are mounted. Technologically, we are so well positioned that we can meet the high demands of automobile manufacturers."
The Hessian company Bröking-Plastex specializes in the processing of plastics. With its laser systems, it focuses primarily on the assembly of injection moulded components for the automotive industry. For the company's specialty, variant (mass customization) production, a CO₂ laser from ROFIN (now Coherent) is used as the beam source. In addition to cost-effective variant production, this laser also enables the high quality for visible components required by automobile manufacturers.
To learn more about Coherent CO₂ laser solutions at Bröking-Plastex, read the full success story.