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A novel technology developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS in Dresden should ensure a higher production speed and more application range of lightweight panels in the future - especially in combination with the in-house roll-to-roll process. The new, laser-based "sandwich plating" offers a lot of technological, economic as well as ecological potential for the industry: With this technology, lightweight panels and profiles should be able to be produced significantly faster and more cost-effectively than with conventional methods such as extrusion. In addition, the new process does not require adhesives or other additional materials, which makes it much easier to recycle the lightweight structures produced with it. Possible users of the new process include suppliers for shipyards and vehicle manufacturers. The new technology could also quickly become established for truck trailers and hall construction.

Laser sandwich cladding can be used to produce stable structures that are only a few tenths of a millimetre thick. Compared to classical methods such as extrusion, laser welding saves a lot of energy because the high-energy light only has to melt the metal surfaces locally to a wafer-thin thickness. It is also suitable for low-cost mass production. Developed further on an industrial scale, the laboratory prototype could one day produce more than ten running metres of lightweight sheet metal per minute.