With so much value placed on innovative technology, automation and laser technology is catching the eye of manufacturers who are looking to better their work practices.
Headland Machinery’s Managing Director, Annaliese Kloe gives us a company perspective of why laser technology is the answer manufacturers are looking for.
Are the benefits of laser technology well known in Australia?
We have a genuine vested interest in developing the Australian manufacturing sector. From that, we’re seeing more and more industries interested in the benefits of laser technology.
With the current mining and energy boom dominating headlines across the country, more manufacturers are realising the need to update their workshop processes and remain competitive – for many, laser technology is the answer.
At Headland, we aim to be the Australian leader in laser technology. We succeed above the rest due to our unique selling proposition via our partnership with TRUMPF, the world leader in industrial lasers and laser technology.
Considering laser technology is a fairly new industry, our customers don’t realise the benefits or increased efficiency it can provide for your workshop needs. We recently had a customer who purchased their first 5-axis TRUMPF laser cutting system from Headland. The machine installation will completed at the end of the year, and having searched through the USA, Europe and Asia for similar technology, I’m happy that we were able to provide a valuable solution for our customer.
What significance do these industries have for the Australian community?
As mentioned, the focus on the mining boom is something that has gained positive growth over the past few years. Currently, mining technology services achieve high export rates, high levels of national and international collaborative networks, all the while proving cutting edge, and world leading technologies.
Our dedicated Laser Technology division sell and support TRUMPF lasers and laser system technologies. Encompassing co2 lasers, solid state lasers, marking lasers and laser systems.
As an example, a laser marker can be either a TruMark 6000 engraving head supplied to an integrator, or a TruMark Station 5000, which is a complete solution from TRUMPF. In the same way laser cutting can be integrated, or the complete solution such as a TruLaser Cell 7040.
Have you seen any major trends develop over the past few years?
Over the past few years, the general trends have all been leaning towards reducing costs, while simultaneously increasing productive efficiency.
Since its introduction, automation processes have taken Australia by storm. Given the choice, majority of manufacturers would choose a combined process of automation, versus a team of people working to do the same thing.
Australian outsourcing costs have also reduced over the past few years, as the emphasis and importance of power has risen to the top of priorities.
The products we offer are best suited for customers looking to reduce costs, while continually improving quality on a per part basis. As a long-term investment, the benefits of having a cleaner and quicker manufacturing method will outweigh any costs initially associated, providing a measurable return on investment.
I can cite Monash University as an example where laser technology has been adopted for application research. Recently purchasing a 5-axis 3D laser additive manufacturing system, Monash are now using the 7040 to assist with their research into rapid synthesis of new alloys and in direct fabrication of large 3D complex components.
“Having a highly skilled team at Monash using a TRUMPF 7040 allows Australian manufacturers access to local research, since using the same industry machine.” says Dr Tom Jarvis, Senior Researcher at ARC Centre of Excellence for Design in Light Metals and Department of Materials Engineering, Monash University.
What laser technology applications are gaining importance?
Throughout Australia, we provide laser technology for applications such as;
Laser joining: The laser acts as a method of joining metals. It can be combined with conventional welding methods and also soldering.
Methods include: Spot welding, seam welding, scanner welding, deposition welding, heat conduction welding, deep penetration welding and soldering.
Laser cutting 3D: 3D laser can handle a variety of cutting tasks on complex 3 dimensional shapes. These range from micrometer precise cutting to quality cuts in 30 millimetre thick steel.
Methods include: Flame cutting, fusion cutting, sublimination cutting and drilling.
Surface Treatment: Repairing or hardening, laser is used to treat the surface making the part more resistant to loads or repairing worn areas.
Methods include: Laser hardening, deposition welding, and powder deposition welding.
Laser Marking: Laser Marking changes the appearance of the surface in a recognised pattern.
Methods include: Engraving, ablation, annealing, colour changing and foaming.
How do you think the laser industry will develop in Australia’s future?
Useability and ease of access are the key issues that will trend in the near future. Increasing pressure is placed on the need for efficiency, we have to always remember – automation is king. Acting as a step forward to mechanisation, automation increases the load, capacity and capability of for manufacturers.
The new carbon tax is definitely a big player in the future game. We’re likely to see issues stem from the push towards a cleaner technology environment.
With the Clean Technology Investment Program, there is substantial support and assistance for manufacturers to buy new equipment and reduce carbon pollution.
From the Headland point of view, we are 100% supportive of our customers investing in a clean technology future. All our machines, particularly our laser welding equipment use minimal floor space and have a reduced carbon footprint.
Watch Babette Kopp, Headland’s Sales and Marketing Manager – Services, give an overview of the Clean Technology Program.
At the moment, our services include assistance in grant applications for our customers. We are in the process of extending our services offering, ensuring we remain competitive and up to date.
Our exclusive relationship with TRUMPF over the last three decades means that we are giving Australian companies access to the best laser technology available. Coupled with our extensive network of accredited service engineers, I believe the future of laser technology in Australian manufacturing is yet to reach its full capability.
Annaliese Kloe is the joint Managing Director of Headland Machinery, along with sibling Richard Kloe. Established in 1949, Headland is a strong family business with over 60 years of experience and understanding, deeply rooted in innovative machine technology, service and support.