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Artificial intelligence makes inroads into laser material processing

Voice-controlled TRUMPF lasers banish the need for manual input of control instructions and enable barrier-free operation // CEO LT Schmitz: “With AI, lasers will become even more efficient, easier to operate and more adaptable.”

Ditzingen/Munich, June 24, 2019 – At the LASER trade show in Munich, high technology company TRUMPF will be presenting a laser system with artificial intelligence (AI) that allows it to be operated intuitively using voice commands – similar to the voice recognition function familiar to smartphone users. The system, which is equipped with a marking laser, demonstrates the potential benefits of AI in laser material processing. Artificial intelligence (AI) takes automation to the next level and is a key technology for connected manufacturing. “With AI, production processes that use our lasers will become even more efficient, easier to operate and more adaptable,” says Christian Schmitz, Chief Executive Officer Laser Technology at TRUMPF. The technology demonstrator shows how the operator can instruct the machine to carry out actions such as “open/close the door”, “start the marking process,” or ask “how many products have been marked today,” simply by speaking into a microphone. The laser system responds immediately and carries out the instruction.

There are many advantages of voice control. For instance, it makes it easier for inexperienced users to operate the machine because they don’t have to learn how to navigate the multi-layered menu structure when entering instructions manually via the software interface. It also saves time, because operators have their hands free to prepare the next part for processing or remove a finished part from the machine. Moreover, by providing barrier-free access, voice control allows handicapped persons to operate the machine.

In the future, machines will select the right program automatically

As the next stage in this project, the TRUMPF development engineers intend to further simplify operation of the marking laser system. But what does that mean in practice? At present, the operator has to tell the machine what part has been loaded so that it can start the appropriate marking program. In the future, advanced sensor systems and image recognition software will enable the machine to identify the part and select the necessary program on its own. It’s not even necessary to load the part in a specific orientation – the machine is so intelligent that it can automatically position the laser at the correct angle before starting the marking process.

Digital photographs in print-ready resolution are available to illustrate this press release. They may only be used for editorial purposes. Use is free of charge when credit is given as “Photo: TRUMPF”. Graphic editing – except for dropping out the main motive – is prohibited.

TRUMPF technology demonstrator voice control

At the LASER trade show in Munich TRUMPF presented a technology demonstrator and showed how the operator can instruct the machine to carry out actions simply by speaking into a microphone.

Christian Schmitz

Chief Executive Officer Laser Technology and Member of the Managing Board

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