OPeraTIC is a project funded by the European Union under Horizon Europe, seeking to boost the adoption of ultra-short-pulsed lasers within industry. The project will run for 42 months until March 2026. In this time, the project seeks to build a state-of-the-art modular manufacturing platform.
OPeraTIC will develop all the technological components required to allow high-power (>200 W), ultrashort pulse (< 30ps) lasers to become fully industrial tools for 3D surface treatment, bringing their advantages in terms of quality, efficiency, emissions (avoidance of chemicals and waste), flexibility and functionality.
OPeraTIC envisages the development of a platform, which can be useful for a wide range of industrial applications up to several square meters of surface to be treated, able to cope with freeform shapes, based on all the technological components developed in the project (optics, mechantronics, control and AI) seamlessly integrated into a single ultrafast laser-powered machine with unprecedented productivity and capabilities.
The whole development in the project can be condensated in just four objectives:
- Modular laser system: We will develop all the components to take maximum advantage of high power ultrafast lasers and make them work together, as plug-and-play elements, thanks to a new machine architecture.
- Data driven pipeline: We will enable the real time transmission of critical information within the system to allow closed loop control.
- Zero Defect Manufacturing: Using AI and real time signals, we will enable the reduction of deviations and target a zero defect operation, even in complex pieces with dimensional unaccuracies.
Demonstrate the approach: on the basis of four very different and demanding use cases from real industry, the project will demonstrate the effectiveness of the results and the benefits against competing technologies.
There are a number of innovations that will result from the project:
- Advanced laser light generation, transmission and shaping systems: pulse amplifier, optical fibre, LCOS digital beamshaping system,
- World first I4.0 implementation in laser micromachining system for large envelopes.
- Unique robotic manipulator with micron-scale accuracy and resolution, unprecedented dexterity and several m3 working area.
- Control framework and approaches which combine real time closed loop response with long-term machine learning algorithms supported with AI.
Demonstrators: novel optical effects on automotive interior panels, antiwetting surfaces in polymer, improved paintability in aerospace light components, and extended tool life and performance in sheet metal stamping.
OPeraTIC is funded by the European Union through the Horizon Europe programme. This programme supports the development of innovative science, technology, and innovations through a variety of thematic clusters.