Laser Cutting for the Automotive Industry:
Albert Einstein and other eminent physicists began exploring the possibility of laser technology back in the early 1900s, but the world would have to wait until 1960 before Theodore H Maiman created the first laser.
After several years of refinement during the 1960s, laser cutting was eventually ready for use in the engineering and manufacturing sectors in the early 1970s. Initially, the process was used to cut holes in metal and to adjust the material into different shapes and sizes.
By the early 2000s, more than 20,000 laser cutting systems had been deployed across the globe. At the time, Japan accounted for 65% of systems, while Europe and the US had installed 24% and 9%, respectively. Today, laser cutting is integral to a variety of industries and sectors, with the automotive industry being a prime example.
Applications in the Automotive Industry
The automotive industry first utilised laser cutting to fabricate individual components, however the automotive components that could be manufactured were limited to simple designs. In the present, however, thanks to major developments in laser cutting technology, laser cutting can help produce almost any part of a car including the body, doors, engine parts, chassis and various mechanics.
For such work, there are few laser cutting specialists to rival SSC Laser’s automotive expertise. Having produced parts, components and accessories for the industry’s leaders, SSC Laser has developed a level of precision and mastery that will benefit any manufacturer.
Which materials do we use for manufacturing automotive components?
SSC have the capabilities to manufacture vehicle components that use mild steel, stainless steel and titanium. An example of a recent project using mild steel is the bracketry and framework for an industry leading sports car seat manufacturer, using a high impact mild steel Strenx 700.
SSC are also delighted to be working with another client on a project where we are producing parts for a Ferrari F40 LM handbrake box covers. The parts are being laser cut and folded and we are using both mild steel and stainless steel. The stainless steel components are being utilised for aesthetics in this instance, as it will be all stripped down inside.
Titanium can also be used to manufacture components that need to withstand high temperatures, and is often the best material for manufacturing vehicle exhausts systems due to its light weight, strength and durability of high temperatures.
Using our tube laser cutter, SSC can also manufacture roll cages for rally and racing cars, creating saddle cut titanium tubes so that they sit together perfectly tube to tube. The titanium is cut on our tube laser and the ends of each tube are cut in specific ways so they perfectly mate with other tubular parts. Want to find out more? Check out our tube laser whitepaper!
Working with Automotive Industry Leaders
SSC work with some of the Automotive Industry’s leading vehicle manufacturers, and have had the pleasure of being involved in the manufacturing process for the companies who deal with the manufacturing of Ferrari and McLaren.
We’re currently working on one of the most exciting automotive projects we’ve ever had the pleasure of working on, as we’re in the midst of manufacturing components for a company who are in the process of converting the McLaren P1 GTR from a track only spec vehicle into road legal car spec.
At the 2016 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the prototype P1 LM, XP1 LM, set the fastest ever time for a road car up the Goodwood Hillclimb, with a time of 47.07 seconds, driven by Kenny Bräck.
On 27 April 2017, the prototype P1 LM, XP1 LM, continued its success on track, beating the road car lap record time at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, with a time of 6:43.22 using road legal Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R tyres but without front number plate required to be road legal. This time was once again set by Kenny Bräck, and announced on 26 May 2017. Click here if you want to find out more!
Benefits of Automotive Laser Cutting
The on-going advance of laser cutting technology means that this technique can deliver a standard of precision that is only becoming more accurate with time. In the automotive industry, this is critical because the various mechanics and components of a car can break down or function inefficiently if they are not designed to seamlessly fit together.
By increasing the presence of laser cutting in the manufacturing process, the automotive industry can achieve the following benefits:
- Cut costs – Laser cutting delivers consistent results that can be exactly quantified to create a cost-effective manufacturing process
- Higher strength steels – Using laser technology will allow for manufacturers to use more advanced steels that can create stronger, safer vehicles
- 2D or 3D parts – Switch easily between 2D and 3D parts or components
- Longer lasting production – Laser cutters do not suffer the degradation of standard tools, which can wear out and lessen productivity
SSC Laser is a UK specialist in laser cutting for the automotive industry. Call us today on 01889 270241 to talk about your requirements.