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Jenoptik and 4JET jointly launch new technology
Laser processing revolutionizes prototype production of car tires: Jenoptik’s Light & Production Division announces cooperation with the 4JET Group to jointly drive the commercialization of innovative laser prototyping technology.
The technology enables rapid prototyping of vehicle tires through precise laser material processing. In this process, individual profiles and designs are laser-generated into tires with a smooth tread and neutral sidewall. The process replaces the time-consuming manual carving of tires and thus significantly reduces development cycles and prototyping costs in tire development.
The laser ablation technology developed by Jenoptik answers a key trend in the tire industry. With an increasing product diversity and shorter product development cycles, the production of design samples and pre-production tires is essential. The production of dedicated molds by CNC milling or 3D printing usually takes place at a later stage of development. Therefore, for unique products in the early development phase, functional samples are often produced in quantities below 5. However, carving with hot knives is a cost-intensive and time-consuming manual process with technical limits.
The new prototyping machines from 4JET with integrated JENscan® Tire technology from Jenoptik allow both treads and sidewalls to be machined true to size and almost fully automatically from CAD data. Pulsed laser processing removes material precisely and with minimal heat impact on the tire. Both non-contact processing and powerful extraction require no post-processing. The novel laser machines can produce several hundred prototypes per year, meeting the growing needs of typical tire manufacturers’ development centers. Optional upgrades allow prototypes to be marked with QR codes or other tracking information. In a further expansion stage, the system can be supplemented with optics for laser-induced "shark skins".
The collaboration between the two companies includes worldwide marketing of the technology through the 4JET Group’s global sales organization. This does not affect Jenoptik’s existing customers, who will continue to be served by their familiar contacts.
Florian Schreiber, Vice President Sales for Tire Machines at 4JET Group, comments: "Jenoptik’s technology is the perfect complement to our portfolio for laser-based tire manufacturing systems. As a supplier to almost all leading tire manufacturers, we can make this technology available worldwide and support it through our regional sales and service structures."
"We are glad to have a strong partner at our side. Through this cooperation, Jenoptik gains access to key contacts and decision makers in the tire industry through 4JET’s existing network. In particular, we are involved in prototype production for the pre-development of future tires, where, for example, the development process for CO2 reduction and rolling resistance reduction as well as other parameters can be significantly accelerated. This partnership is a win-win situation for both our companies and complements 4JET’s range of laser applications", said Julio Javier Frank, Vice President Sales at Jenoptik’s Light & Production division.
The Alsdorf-based 4JET Group delivers solutions for the surface technology of the future. The company was founded in 2006 and supplies all of the world's leading tire manufacturers with solutions for tire marking, mold cleaning and bonding preparation, Customers also include major OEMs and other automotive suppliers. The 4JET microtech business unit supplies laser micromachining systems for processing technical glass, solar cells and other high-tech components. Since August 2018, the company has been operating a jobshop for laser contract processing in Prutting near Rosenheim. Subsidiaries in Shanghai and Atlanta provide sales consulting and technical services to international customers.
About Jenoptik and the Light & Production division
Optical technologies are the very basis of our business: Jenoptik is a globally active technology group and is active in the three photonics-based divisions: Light & Optics, Light & Production and Light & Safety. Our key target markets primarily include the semiconductor industry, medical technology, automotive and mechanical engineering, traffic, aviation as well as security and defense technology industries. Around 4,400 employees work for Jenoptik worldwide. The Group’s headquarters are in Jena (Germany). In the 2020 fiscal year, Jenoptik generated revenue of approx. 767 million euros according to preliminary figures.
Jenoptik’s Light & Production division is a global specialist in the optimization of manufacturing processes. With many years of experience and expertise in industrial metrology and optical inspection, advanced laser-based material processing and highly flexible robot-based automation, the company develops customized manufacturing solutions for customers in the automotive, aerospace, medical technology and other manufacturing industries. In the global automotive market, Jenoptik, as a firmly established key supplier, meets modern challenges on a daily basis in terms of flexibility, productivity and increasing diversity of variants, thus covering the growing demand for complex and turnkey industrial solutions with a focus on machine integration and process automation. As a development and optimization partner, Jenoptik faces up to market-specific challenges together with its customers and raises customer-specific systems to a new, forward-looking level by intelligently combining key technologies.