06 Jun Andaltec specialises in laser cutting and welding processes after taking part in several European projects
The Technological Centre for Plastics (Andaltec) is now regarded a specialist in laser industrial processes thanks to its implication in major R&D projects in this area. Thus, the Martos-based foundation has developed technological capabilities in areas such as laser cutting, welding and microstructuration, focusing on the automotive sector. Andaltec offers a specialized area in laser welding, which is capable of joining different materials such as plastic and metal.
Andaltec technicians are able to carry out this whole process. It starts with a test on the raw materials intended to be joined, so it can be checked their viability to be used in a laser welding process. Then, the final product to be generated with the laser welding is analysed and the laser beam trajectory is also defined. Besides devising the process, engineers are also in charge of designing the necessary equipment to produce the final parts and carry out the necessary simulations in order to deal with the product manufacture. Finally, the tooling and laser welding equipment are manufactured and installed in the customer’s factory.
Andaltec has acquired these technological capabilities through its participation in European projects such as PMJoin, which has developed an innovative system to join metal and plastic parts using laser welding. This initiative has obtained results on cohesion strength which improve the current conventional adhesive joints. The final goal is the use of plastic materials for the automotive sector in order to manufacture lighter and less pollutant cars. Up to now, the connection of plastic and metal through conventional joining technologies such as adhesives or traditional elements as rivets or mechanical joints used to imply a heavier weight on the final product and a higher number of steps in the manufacturing process.
Another European project in this area participated by Andaltec is Essial, intended to develop new industrial processes to join metallic structures by means of laser. The consortium in charge of Essial project, funded by the European Union until 2021, is researching on advanced manufacture processes to improve the performance and functionality of magnetic circuits. Essial is a project funded by the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020. Enrique Artacho, head of the Laser Area in Andaltec, pinpoints that this technology can provide innovative manufacturing solutions for many sectors, as it allows for cost reductions or new processes that are impossible to carry out with other technologies.
Andaltec is a National Technological Centre, supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. It houses a crew of 160 qualified workers in more than 10,000 square metres of high-tech facilities. Andaltec’s headquarters in Martos possess the latest technological equipment for research, development and validation of new products and materials, as well as for process optimization.