The automation expert Pilz GmbH & Co. KG started in 1948 as a glass-blowing workshop for medical and technical apparatus. From the 1960s to the present day, the company has developed into a complete supplier of automation solutions in the field of electronic control and monitoring devices, as well as programmable logic controllers.
System solutions from Pilz are used today in all areas of mechanical and plant engineering, as well as in the automotive, food and woodworking industries. At the headquarters in Ostfildern (Baden-Württemberg) and the 42 subsidiaries worldwide, over 2,500 employees work on customer-oriented solutions in the field of safe automation.
The production processes include a wide variety of nonwovens, polyester fabrics and knitted fabrics, polyamide fabrics, PTFE and PU films. Pilz also uses laser cutting for textile surfaces, including silver-plated polyamide yarns, and for stripping micro-cables.
For a newly developed product, which is used in the automotive industry, a solution was sought that could not be implemented with the existing production machines. Here a textile sensor is installed in a safety switching mat. The cutting process should not only be practicable but also profitable. High priority was given to the feasibility of the exact positioning and fixing of the materials to be cut in the laser system, but also to the handling and the reproducibility or repeatability.
Practical tests at Trotec have shown that the large format laser SP1500 meets the requirements of a large working area and repeatability. "We need a large working area with nevertheless reproducible cutting accuracy," says Stefan Beichter, Production Process Developer, Production Technology Department at Pilz. In addition, the machining process must be gentle on the material. "Laser cutting cuts the textile material without damaging micro cables. The cutting edge is fused cleanly by the laser so that open fibres do not "fray out". Furthermore, safety is a high priority for us. Due to the closed class 2 laser system, the protection of employees and the environment is guaranteed at all times", says Stefan Beichter.