Quality Control of Aluminium Laser-welded Assemblies

Summary

The development of the QCOALA laser processing system will mean that testing is carried out so that parts are not tested until breaking point. It will also provide a reliable, high-speed, low-cost and high-quality joining solution for electric car battery and thin-film photovoltaic cell interconnections. Through fully integrated process ICTs and statistical process control, the new system will facilitate in-line quality control, as well as a higher level of automation in manufacturing and thereby achieve higher yield and throughput for both of these high-in-demand applications. This project will help the consortium partners to increase their annual turnover to the order of between 15 and 25%, productivity between 50 and 100% and yield by 2 and 10%. The new laser processing system will be based on a pulsed platform, capable of laser pulses in the range of micro seconds to milli seconds and pulse energies of up to tens of joules able to generate both near infra-red and green wavelength through a dual-wavelength beam scanner. Real-time temporal pulse control will be developed to allow close-loop control of the monitored process. The fully-integrated system will produce continuous (i.e. not sample-based) inspection rates, with a â˜fingerprintâ™ of each laser weld captured in real time, and allow in-line process control when welding car battery and thin-film PV cell interconnections. QCOALA is focused on energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly and agile manufacturing, through the feedback of in-line information into the production line relating to monitoring and inspection, allowing for process control and continuous quality improvement, as well as waste reduction. Whereas the aim of the project is to produce smarter and more energy-efficient manufacturing, the applications addressed in the project are categorised in the green, â˜alternativeâ™ energy market.

More information
Web resources: http://www.qcoala.eu
https://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/95448/factsheet/en
Start date: 01-09-2010
End date: 31-08-2013
Total budget - Public funding: 3 926 091,00 Euro - 2 627 239,00 Euro
Call topic: Smart Factories: ICT for agile and environmentally friendly manufacturing (FoF.ICT.2010.10.1)
Cordis data

Original description

The QCOALA project will develop a new dual-wavelength laser processing system for welding thin-gauge aluminium and copper, 0.1mm to 1.0mm in thickness, with integrated process monitoring and in-line non-destructive inspection, and establish its capability to provide a reliable, high-speed, low-cost and high-quality joining solution for electric car battery and thin-film photovoltaic (PV) cell interconnections. Through fully integrated process ICT and Statistical Process Control (SPC), the new system will facilitate in-line quality control, as well as a higher level of automation in manufacturing, and thereby achieve higher yield and throughput, for both these high-in-demand applications. This project will help the Beneficiaries, with expertise in the constituent components of the new system, to increase their annual turnover between 15 and 25%, their productivity between 50 and 100% and their yield between 2 and 10%.
The new laser processing system will be based on a pulsed platform for PV interconnections, capable of laser pulses in the range of µs to ms and pulse energies of up to (tens of) Joules, and capable of generating both the near-IR and green wavelength through a dual-wavelength beam scanner. Real-time temporal pulse control will be developed to allow closed-loop control of the monitored process. A dual , pulsed green and continuous wave (cw) IR platform will be used for welding battery interconnections. In this case, the combined green and IR beams will be delivered through the same dual wavelength welding head. The fully-integrated system will produce 100% inspection rate, with a 'fingerprint' of each laser weld captured in 'real-time', and allow in-line process control when welding car battery and thin-film PV cell interconnections QCOALA is focused on energy-efficient, environmental-friendly and agile manufacturing, through the feed-back of in-line-monitoring and inspection information into the production line, allowing process control and continuous quality improvement and waste reduction. Whereas the concept of the project is aimed at smarter and more energy-efficient manufacturing, the applications that are addressed in the project fall are categorised in the 'green' alternative energy market.

Status

CLO

Call topic

FoF.ICT.2010.10.1

Update Date

07-11-2021
Location

Relevant items: View structured details below

Circular economy Social sustainability Environmental sustainability
Reducing the consumption of energy, while increasing the usa... Material efficiency Waste minimisation
    Comment: The new laser system that will be developed in QCOALA will comprise an optimised laser source with a wavelength suited to aluminium and copper welding, fully integrated with in-line process monitoring and inspection systems to ensure the quality of products that are produced. The new system will facilitate in-line quality control, as well as a higher level of automation in manufacturing, and thereby achieve higher yield and throughput, for both these high-in-demand applications.
      Comment: The QCOALA manufacturing process combines several knowledge-intensive technologies including laser and beam delivery system integration, laser-based material processing, advanced process monitoring and inspection. The combination exploits the convergence of a number of high-tech technologies, which will create a knowledge-intensive process applicable to products of both new high-tech and highgrowth industries, such as PV, and also benefit the high-value knowledge-based traditional industries, such as car battery manufacture.
      Comment: The QCOALA concept will enable the development of products with improved performance. This is particularly important for applications requiring the highest level of performance and reliability in challenging conditions, essential in an application such as the electric car battery. Higher performance products will provide European manufacturers with an additional source of competitive advantage.
      Comment: This project hase the target to decrease the energy consumption by more than 20%.The project will be using the latest in laser technology which have a wall-plug efficiency of around 30%, which is an order of magnitude higher than that of the current ‘workhorse’ in industry, i.e. the lamp- pumped Nd:YAG laser. The QCOALA system is aligned with the European Photovoltaics Technology Platform’s objectives, outlined in their implementation plan published august 2009. The report mentions the need for a pan-European approach to solving the roadblocks of PV technology and manufacture.
    Comment: The QCOALA project brings together a diverse multi-disciplinary and multisector consortium from across the EU, generating additional innovation and cooperation, which will fuel the continuous innovation required to increase European competitiveness.

Relevant items: View structured details below

Customised products
Domain 2: Adaptive and smart manufacturing systems
      Comment: Customised manufacturing will be facilitated by the use of a dual-wavelength laser system, beam scanning, integrated imperfection recognition algorithms that are ‘interactive’, for example, the system can be taught depending on the product/ quality level set, robust and adaptable software packages adaptable to suit the end-use.

Relevant items: View structured details below

Photonics-based materials processing technologies
Information and communication technologies
    Comment: The project focuses on ICT for agile and environmentally friendly manufacturing. The advanced level of automation that the fully integrated (laser) welding station will offer, will allow the approach not only for mainstream high-volume manufacture, but also for small-series production. The application of the laser scanner, for instance, allows fast, versatile programming of laser paths, which can be altered for each product, if necessary. The dual-wavelength nature of the scanner will facilitate a fast change-over between the welding of copper and aluminium interconnections. Smallscale manufacturing (and to some extent large-scale manufacturing) requires traceability of products, through its production life and its in-serve lifecycle. Using the same laser source for marking will facilitate this aspect of small-series production.