Fifty years ago, cars were made of steel. End of story. The little bit of wood, leather, rubber and glass for the interior and electrics accounted for only a small fraction of the overall weight. Nowadays, steel makes up just a little more than half the weight of most cars; the rest is a mix of aluminum alloys, plastics and fiber-reinforced composites such as CFRP. And even steel has long since become more versatile: more and more special alloys are finding their way into lightweight vehicles.
The automotive industry, aircraft construction and other sectors are all asking the question: how can we join all these different materials together – or split them apart? And second, how does this growing bundle of processes fit into a lean, modern factory?
There’s no shortage of answers: companies can opt for the simplest of processes, the most specialized, the most precise, the most flexible. And more and more of these answers contain the word “laser”.