Partnership Aims to Improve Properties of Steel Strip Surfaces
Courtesy of LIMO Lissotschenko Mikrooptik GmbH
ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe, the Fraunhofer Institute for Materials and Beam Technology IWS, and LIMO initiated development work on a new laser technology that the partners will use to improve the properties of steel strip surfaces. The collaboration is part of a research project by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). It is scheduled to be completed by 2017.
The BMBF's OSLO project stands for “surface-functionalized steel strip materials using laser surface treatment in a continuous wide-strip process.”
Together, Duisburg-based ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe AG (TKSE), the Dortmund Project Group of the Fraunhofer Institute for Materials and Beam Technology (IWS) and LIMO will research how the properties of ferrous steel strip materials can be influenced in a targeted manner by laser surface treatment in a continuous in-line wide-strip process.
Materials experts refer to it as functionalizing. To provide steel with better corrosion protection, for example, the laser will uniformly heat the steel’s surface layers over the entire strip width. But corrosion protection is not the only benefit of this alloying or surface melting process. Thanks to uniform heating, it is also extremely energy-efficient and environmentally friendly because the laser only heats the surface rather than the entire volume of the wide strip.
The success of the OSLO project hinges on the laser system and beam shaping unit for the short-time heat treatment of the coated steel strip scheduled to be used in the demonstration machine at TKSE in Dortmund under conditions closely simulating real-life production.