A new way of thinking: the sheet metal alternative – this was the slogan of Trumpf for EMO 2007. Many metal manufacturing processes can be considerably improved using innovative designs and the right combination of machines. A decisive step often includes supplementing – or even replacing – metal-cutting processes with sheet metal processing.

Sheet metal is not only more economical, it can also be processed quicker and is, of course, considerably lighter. In many instances it is not about an either/or decision: Trumpf technologies frequently offer very practical ways to complement milling and turning and thereby clearly optimise many a work piece.

In the manufacture of axle differentials at BMW, the parts previously used screws, but today these are laser welded. As a result, there are no more projecting screws or flanges. Because the individual parts are smaller because of the laser-based design, seven per cent of the installation space is freed up, which is quite a lot when every millimetre counts.

The differential gear is lighter than before – that too is a rather unusual by-product for the automotive industry, where weight reductions usually increase costs rather than lowering them.