electric-car-at-charging-station-TDVPEFZLaser technology has helped us overcome a number of challenges, whether that is achieving greater levels of precision, decreasing manufacturing timescales or helping to 'green' otherwise environmentally damaging industrial processes. Looking to the future, the automotive industry is no exception. As electric transport, or e-mobility, moves from being a new trend to a mass market, automobile manufacturers need to find ways to scale electric transportation to mass production, whilst ensuring that they remain efficient and affordable...and fiber lasers will be crucial to achieving this aim.

While fiber lasers are already used in automotive manufacturing, this use will increase exponentially as the industry moves to the mass production of electric vehicles. 

verschweissen-hairpins In addition to the usual welding requirements involved in manufacturing automotive parts, e-mobility presents a new challenge: dissimilar metal welding. Where ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles typically rely on steel and aluminium, electric vehicles will require copper components due to their high conductivity. A typical example in this context is the laser welding of copper busbars to steel or aluminum battery components. Conventional welding, which applies heat to a larger area, will often see two types of metal mix as they settle and cool. Alternatively, lasers produce a highly concentrated heat source, capable of creating a keyhole, producing a small volume of weld metal, and transmits only a limited amount of heat into the surrounding material

Fiber lasers will also prove invaluable as e-mobility demands an increased capacity to create and store large quantities of electricity. Specifically, manufacturers will need to produce huge quantities of top quality battery cells and packs which will stand the test of time and tarmac. Fiber lasers offer a reliable solution, in that they are highly effective in the cleaning and texturing of electrodes and battery cells, which require large surface areas in small spaces to hold optimum levels of charge. 

The use of lasers in automotive manufacturing allows us to replace polluting technologies with greener ones, meaning that laser technology is in line with the goals of the e-mobility industry. Fiber lasers operate without consumables and have a longer operating life than alternatives, reducing waste management and equipment maintenance. We have written more about sustainability and laser technology here.emobility-design

The future is electric, and lasers are already playing a vital role in bringing the vision of an electrically mobile world to fruition. In our next blog in this series, we will be taking a more in-depth look into some of the manufacturing processes that lasers are helping to develop, such as additive and tailored blank manufacturing, and how these new applications are helping manufacturers produce safer and more cost-effective components. Stay tuned.