The laser head needs to move freely in the
2D plane to cut square-, bow-, and com-
plex-shaped blanks. As the trajectory of
the laser head establishes the dimensional
accuracy, the repeatability of the position,
as well as the accuracy of the movement,
When cutting a complex shape, the pro-
cess time increases significantly because
the laser head needs to move along vari-
ous curves, which involves acceleration.
Therefore, the laser head needs a high-acceleration, high-precision drive system.
Generally, with industrial robots, acceleration is not high enough and the repeatability of the position is guaranteed, but not its
trajectory. When using a linear-motor-drive
system to improve precision and acceleration of each axis, enormous drive force is
required, resulting in high power consumption and overheating of motors during continuous operation. From the law of motion,
a = F/M (where a = acceleration, F = force,
and M = mass), reducing weight is the best
way to improve acceleration.
An H-gantry consists of four fixed servo
motors and driving belts. By controlling the
rotation of the servo motors on the left and
right, the belt moves the laser head in the
x- and y-axis directions as required. It is a
unique driving system without an actuator on the driven part,
resulting in a lightweight design.
Furthermore, by using lightweight, highly rigid carbon
fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) to reduce weight and defor-
mation of the frame, we have achieved an acceleration of 10G
when compared to 3G with a conventional steel frame. Also,
by using a urethane belt with a carbon-fiber core, we have
reduced 50% of the precision problem because of elongation.
By optimizing the key elements affecting the rigidity of the
H-gantry, we have realized high acceleration and improved
In conventional press blanking, the material is fed into the press and at a certain
length, the feed stops and the sheet gets
blanked, which is repeated until the full
coil has been pressed and exhausted.
This means that during the feed, the die
does not work. With the ILBS, we have
eliminated this downtime by realizing a
continuous-feed conveying system to
improve productivity of the line.
To establish a continuous laser cutting
process, securing space underneath the
laser head and stabilizing the feed were
issues. In general, laser cutting a sawtooth support underneath keeps the
sheet flat during cutting. The problems
with the sawtooth support is that the
sawtooth itself is cut at the same time,
Because of this synchronized system, we can cut large
parts such as the side panel outer (SPO) with a length of more
than 3m and small parts such as
FIGURE 1. Honda Engineering Co. Ltd.’s ILBS line in its plant in Yorii, Japan.
FIGURE 2. The high-speed laser cutting
head that that weighs one-third less
than a conventional version with same