3D laser makes micropatterns for great products
May 30, 2007 § 1 Comment
Micrometer-fine patterns in surfaces endow components with amazing properties: Plastic dashboards can be made to look like leather, sharkskin patterned ribs on an aircraft’s fuselage can significantly reduce air resistance and micro-recesses in human implants can dramatically improve connection with the bone. Research engineers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in Aachen, Germany have now rendered the laser fit for the third dimension. In the joint “FlexOStruk” project, with nine industrial partners, they have developed a machine for near-net-shape laser ablation. Working in cooperation with BMW and Siemens, the IPT engineers have already developed initial female tools for plastic injection molding and produced them using this technique. They have thus demonstrated that molds for making leather-look automobile cockpits or attractive mobile phone housings can be structured by this method.