Rail

Automotive

Aviation

Communications & Infrastructure

General Industry

Shipbuilding

Rail

As a pioneer in laser welding,

Photon has successfully used this state-of-the-art technology

in rail vehicle construction for many years – from S to XXL

The new DB lightweight-steel champion – laser welded by Photon

For the 1,465 carriages of the new Deutsche Bahn flagship train (Siemens Bombardier),
Photon manufactures sidewall and roof segments as well as roof bows and
crossbeams for the underframe.

  • Laser welding XXL
  • Lightweight steel construction: stability & efficiency
  • Development of the manufacturing concept and component-design support
  • Highest precision, from the production of individual parts to the automated welding process

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  • The new DB lightweight-steel champion – laser welded by Photon

    The new flagship of the DB fleet will be in use for decades – reaching top speeds of up to 250 km / h.

    For the outer shell, this means meeting the highest standards in terms of stability and workmanship. But it also needs to be lightweight. Because every superfluous gram of weight travels over millions of kilometres, worsens the energy balance and thus causes higher costs in the long run. Quite a challenge for the Siemens/Bombardier carriage builders.

    The Photon solution: steel and laser. Laser-welded carriage components made of sheet steel offer maximum stability even with low material thicknesses – without space-wasting internal reinforcements, which are necessary when using aluminium, for example.

    Photon’s XXL laser welding portals allow even the thinnest steel sheets to be welded with the highest quality, precision and strength – efficiently, quickly and with no visible welds on the outer skin. This saves time, money and materials in the production process, creates space in the interior of the train and reduces the environmental impact of the ICE 4.

    A solution that has convinced Siemens/Bombardier. Over the next few years, Photon will produce sidewalls, roof assemblies and underframe components for approximately 1,600 ICE 4 carriages. And in many other trains, too, there is more than just one piece of Photon. For the competition, this means:

    “Stand back please!”

Photon goes West – with the Rocky Mountaineer

For Stadler Pankow GmbH, Photon manufactures the sidewalls, end segments and roofs of the carriages of the luxury double-decker panoramic train. The result: unbeatable stability and aesthetics.

  • Laser welding XXL (up to 25 m)
  • Support with component construction
  • Semi-automated production process for small series
  • Very heavy steel construction with extreme material combinations

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  • Photon goes West – with the Rocky Mountaineer

    Since 1990, the Rocky Mountaineer has crossed the vast, majestic landscapes of western Canada and the United States. What makes these trains so special are the big, domed windows, which offer breath-taking, panoramic views of the magnificent landscapes.

    The production of the carriages is anything but easy: greatest possible stability and safety are as important as a unique aesthetic befitting the exclusive clientele.

    Particular challenges are the sheer size of the carriage bodies (about 25 m long) and the heavy steel construction with extreme material combinations (thin sheet metal with high profile thickness). Clearly a job for the XXL laser-welding pioneers from Photon.

    From the beginning, Photon specialists were involved in the design of the components. The required technology and the semi-automated production process for the small series were also designed and implemented by Photon.

    When producing the sidewalls, end walls and roofs for the carriage bodies produced by Stadler GmbH Pankow, Photon pushes at the limits of laser welding technology – in terms of component geometry as well as tolerances and material combinations.
    Where others have failed, the Photon engineers and welders achieve excellent results due to their experience and absolute passion for the potential of laser.

    Which goes to prove that with Photon, going West is anything but arduous.

Cutting a fine figure: the new S-Bahn for Hamburg

For the 60 brand-new ET 490 trains of Hamburg’s S-Bahn (suburban railway), produced by Bombardier, Photon manufactures solebars and double-T-beams and was also involved in the development of the overall manufacturing concept (including training).

  • Laser welding, deep drawing, etc.
  • Advice on component design for product optimisation
  • High demands on flatness/straightness and aesthetics, as the solebars are visible
  • Weld seams invisible from the outside

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  • Cutting a fine figure: the new S-Bahn for Hamburg

    The 60 brand-new ET 490 trains of Hamburg’s S-Bahn are not only more efficient and more comfortable than previous models, they also look better from the outside. This is in no small part thanks to the rail-vehicle experts at Photon.

    By 2019, Photon will have manufactured solebars and double T-beams for a total of 180 carriages. In addition to the technical specifications, the aesthetic requirements are high, because the solebars are visible. This requires precision laser welding in 3D, with twelve-metre-long components, of course with welding seams that can’t be seen on the outside.

    The finished trains are real gems and a testimony of Photon’s expertise. But the manufacturer Bombardier Transportation also benefited from Photon’s comprehensive know-how in the field of rail-vehicle construction in other ways – for example, in the development of the overall manufacturing concept and in the design and optimisation of components.

    And perhaps most importantly, the new vehicles are a hit with Hamburg residents as well as visitors to the Hanseatic city.

Locomotive front parts for the US market: Better to deep draw than to pile up

For the diesel-electric locomotive SC-44, manufactured by Siemens Sacramento, Photon produces front masks, side panels and other components. The production of the front part takes Photon to the limits of deep-drawing technology.

  • Laser welding/cutting, tool making, deep drawing
  • Tools weighing up to 20 t
  • Challenge: forming very large, very deep components with very strong materials
  • Forming simulation at the outset

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  • Locomotive front parts for the US market: Better to deep draw than to pile up

    The diesel-electric locomotive SC-44 Charger has been produced by Siemens Sacramento since 2015. The major project involves 600 locomotives for various North American rail companies such as Amtrak, IDOT, Multistate, SEPTA and CALTRANS.

    The deep-drawing experts at Photon were commissioned with manufacturing the deep-drawn roofs, side panels, front masks and coupling covers. For good reason – because producing front masks which differ from operator to operator is extremely demanding.

    For example, tools of up to 20 tons in weight have to be produced for the forming of very large, very deep components made of extremely strong materials. Compensating for the spring-back effect of the components in the tools is also very demanding and requires the expertise of the experienced Photon team.

    Advance forming simulations, design improvements and a step-by-step optimised production process make even the most difficult aspects possible. A true masterpiece, which the Photon tool-making and deep-drawing specialists are rightly proud of.

    Fun fact: In the US, trains are no longer ambushed, but they are still often shot at – which explains the extreme robustness of the locomotives.

Automotive

Photon is a long-standing partner of the automotive

and commercial vehicle industry,

especially in the areas of prototypes,

small series and pre-series production – for good reason.

Scania and Photon make truckers’ dreams come true

What gives a truck its unique character? Exactly: the front end. Reason enough to rely on uncompromising quality when it comes to prototype construction – in other words, on Photon.

For the development of the new Scania L, P, G and R ranges, Photon has repeatedly demonstrated the breadth of its deep-drawing and tool-making expertise.

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  • Scania and Photon make truckers’ dreams come true

    For the prototypes of the new truck series, Photon produced several demanding assemblies such as front centre panels, cabin corners and cladding-frame parts in four different sizes. For this purpose, 28 tool sets had to be designed and manufactured in a short space of time, some of them weighing up to 15 tons.

    Not only the production of the outer skin parts proved to be a challenge; bonding them with the inner structural parts by gluing and seaming proved to be difficult, too. To do so, Photon designed and manufactured eight seaming tools and other equipment for laser cutting and constructing assemblies.

    Once again, the result spoke for itself: it is not for nothing that Photon continues to be a reliable partner for the automotive and commercial-vehicle industry when it comes to the fast, flexible and accurate production of components and assemblies for prototypes and small series.

BMW X6: Photon laser-soldering experts help make rear-end a head-turner

Laser soldering offers high processing reliability, first-class quality and aesthetics – ideal for pre-series production in the automotive industry.

  • Planning and coordination of the production process for the trunk lid of the BMW X6
  • Construction of a tensioning device
  • Establishing the supply chain for the pre-series as a partner of the deep-drawing tool manufacturer
  • Laser soldering of the trunk lid in outer-skin quality

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  • BMW X6: Photon laser-soldering experts help make rear-end a head-turner

    Form and function are perfect combined in the BMW X6. That’s why the Italian supplier CO.ST.AT. wanted to leave nothing to chance in the production of the trunk lid and turned to Photon. The task: joining two deep-drawn components made of electrolytically galvanized sheet steel by means of laser-beam soldering.

    Worldwide, Photon has the longest experience in designing and implementing laser-beam soldering processes on trunk lids (since 1996) and is therefore the obvious choice for carrying out highly complex projects in this area in the shortest possible time.

    In addition to high-quality implementation, planning is crucial. It is important to strike a perfect balance between the implementation of the component design and the requirements and limitations of the production process.

    During the planning stage for the trunk lid of the BMW X6, Photon worked together with the customer and the end customer using 3D CAD data. Based on the resulting designs, Photon constructed a tensioning device for the laser-soldering process. Furthermore, as a partner of the deep-drawing tool manufacturer, Photon set up the supply chain for the pre-production series before it was handed over to the end customer BMW.

    Thanks to Photon’s extensive experience, the process was completed in a very short space of time – with fewer unused components than originally estimated. The quality of the assemblies immediately convinced both CO.ST.AT. and BMW.

Bentley Bentayga: In-depth process expertise from Photon

For the pre-series production of the “most luxurious SUV in the world” (Focus magazine), Photon was responsible for the roof-seam welding of the car body.

  • Laser-beam welding (aluminium), engineering, process consulting
  • Extremely minimal warping, flawless welding of the highest quality
  • Construction of a tensioning device
  • Absolute confidentiality

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  • Bentley Bentayga: In-depth process expertise from Photon

    The eyes of the world were on the exclusive car brand Bentley when it announced the production of its first SUV. All the more important that everything went smoothly in the test phase. The welding of the body seams for the pre-production models was a particularly sensitive issue. Warping through heat can lead to rippling (bumps on the roof). Other process errors (pores, holes, splashes) can also be very difficult to rework in the outer skin area of ​​the aluminium body – which can lead to the roof needing to be renovated or even to the loss of the entire body.

    That’s why the manufacturer left nothing to chance and entrusted Photon’s highly skilled laser-welding experts with the difficult task. A major vote of confidence, which incited Photon to peak performance.

    By means of a tensioning device designed by Photon, the roof segments and sub-segments of the aluminium bodies, delivered under the highest secrecy, were positioned with micrometre precision. In the Photon laser-beam welding portals, the roof seams of all bodies could then be joined, as planned, with minimal warping.

    In the subsequent test phase, the pre-production models were a great success, series production started, and in 2016, the first vehicles were delivered and celebrated by car enthusiasts worldwide.

Aviation

From prototypes to series,

Photon manufactures innovative sheet-metal components

and assemblies for the aviation industry

– in proven and certified Photon quality.

Rolls-Royce BR725: Photon’s contribution to jet engine optimisation

For Rolls-Royce Germany, Photon took to the skies – controlling the entire sheet metal process chain.

  • Engineering, 2D laser-beam welding, forming, 3D laser-beam cutting; 3D laser-beam welding
  • Extreme demands on quality, safety and resilience
  • Weight reduction by more than 30% with the same stability

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  • Rolls-Royce BR725: Photon’s contribution to jet engine optimisation

    How do you make a good engine even better? This was the question faced by the engineers of Rolls-Royce Germany in the development phase of the turbofan engine BR725, which is a further development of the BR710.

    A possible area of optimisation was the exhaust cone, usually made of nickel-based steel. The alternative: titanium – an expensive but very popular material in aviation due to the fact that it is strong, corrosion-resistant and lightweight.

    For the manufacturing, RR turned to Photon – and received an attractive overall package: from comprehensive planning and design to cutting, rolling and bending of individual parts, coordination of the necessary forming processes, right through to 3D laser-beam welding in Photon’s state-of-the-art laser welding portals.

    The Photon specialists did a great job: they were able to reduce the weight by over 30%, while meeting the highest standards in terms of quality, safety and resilience.

    In the end, titanium wasn’t used in the exhaust cone, but in the fan. And the BR725, which among other things powers the Gulfstream G650, the world’s fastest and longest-range business jet, is actually quieter, more economical and cleaner than its predecessors.

    Titanium and laser – an unbeatable combination from Photon.

Rolls-Royce Trent XWB: With titanium into the future

During the development phase of the Trent XWB jet engine used on the Airbus A350, Photon made one-metre-high titanium outlet guide vanes – not as a solid body, as is the norm, but as a hollow construction.

  • Challenge: maximum stability with extremely thin titanium (1 mm)
  • Lowest tolerances and low-distortion laser welding of the end cover
  • Lower susceptibility to erosion than conventional variations made of fibre composite & lighter than solid titanium

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  • Rolls-Royce Trent XWB: With titanium into the future

    The Rolls-Royce Trent XWB is one of the world’s most advanced jet engines. An important optimisation compared to other models are the one-metre-high Outlet Guide Vanes (OGVs) made of titanium – a material that offers a higher resistance to abrasion compared to the more commonly used fibre composites.

    However, titanium is heavier than a fibre composite. The solution: to design a hollow construction offering the same safety and stability as a solid construction.

    A particular challenge is the low-distortion and rework-free welding of the end cover on the hollow body, because the component is 1 m long but the titanium used only 1 mm thick.

    To overcome this problem, RR turned to Photon during the development stage. Using very high welding speeds, even for the rounded corners, the Photon laser experts were able to apply the covers with low tolerances.

    During the production of the OGVs, Photon was responsible for the engineering and the 3D laser-beam cutting and welding of the components. And it turned out to be an important contribution: the innovation was adopted in the serial production of the engine.
    The project XWB shows: Photon goes through thick and thin for its customers – literally.

Communications & Infrastructure

Innovative products for transport infrastructure

(railways, waterways, roads), components for public transport

(e.g. train carriages and buses), as well as

for enclosure and telecommunications technology

– developed, tested, approved and manufactured by Photon.

Photon Elektrant smart ID: Smart power column for the Deutsche Bahn

A Photon innovation for the electricity supply of rail vehicles on sidings and in freight depots. The integration into the GSM-R network enables clear identification and consumption-based billing.

  • Photon in-house development and production
  • Innovative contribution to digitisation in the rail sector
  • Centralised monitoring possible for the first time
  • Based on Photon’s existing expertise in manufacturing charging stations for electric vehicles

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  • Photon Elektrant smart ID: Smart power column for the Deutsche Bahn

    Trains also need electricity on sidings or in freight depots – e.g. for the central computer. That’s why special supply points are provided at these locations. But who consumes how much electricity and when?

    The Deutsche Bahn wants to know exactly – to allow for accurate assignment and billing. The question: How do you reach a functional solution fast and cost-efficiently?

    Enter Photon.

    Photon combines many years of rail communications experience with in-depth expertise in the manufacturing of electric vehicle charging stations and also has the required certifications – a rare combination.

    That’s why Photon was able to quickly come up with its own innovative solution: an intelligent power-supply column, which for the first time enables centralised and accurate monitoring through integration in the GSM-R network of the Deutsche Bahn. Billing works via the OCCP system, which is also used in charging stations for e-vehicles.

    The Photon Elektrant Smart ID is developed and manufactured from A to Z by Photon (excluding foreign parts) – including the complex inner life. Over the next few years, Photon will deliver many of the bright yellow pillars – making an important contribution to digitising rail infrastructure in Germany.

GSM-R Communication Pillar: Wirelessly clearing the way

The Photon solution for wireless communication on low-traffic level crossings replaces the previous wired columns. Another step towards digitising the railway infrastructure.

  • Photon in-house development and production
  • Cable-free operation by solar power possible
  • Radio connection to the control centre via the GSM-R network
  • The benefits: cost savings, improved functionality, centralised monitoring

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  • GSM-R Communication Pillar: Wirelessly clearing the way

    Call barriers are barriers at seldom-used railroad crossings in Germany, which are kept closed permanently or during certain periods and are opened at the request of road users if required. Communication with the control centre takes place via a communication pillar.

    As part of the modernisation of the railway infrastructure, the existing wired communication pillars are to be replaced by new wireless pillars.

    For this purpose, Photon developed a communication pillar for the Deutsche Bahn AG, which enables wireless communication and integrated monitoring via integration in the GSM-R network. Power is supplied via solar panels on the column. In addition to improved functionality, the new pillars are also much more economical than the old ones, costing two-thirds less.

    With this solution, which is unique in Germany to date, Photon is responsible for the manufacturing as well as the development of the plastic housing, as well as for the final assembly of the functional modules, including a functional test. 100 to 150 level crossings are to be equipped with two GSM-R communication pillars respectively.

    Thanks to many years of experience in the rail sector, Photon was able to successfully master the considerable challenges with regard to safety, compatibility and compliance in close cooperation with DB AG.

    An innovative Photon product, which should also be interesting for other markets.

General Industry

Whether home appliances, industrial facilities

or mounting parts – Photon offers innovative solutions

and a high level of expertise for many different industries.

More energy, lower costs – decentralised power generation with Photon know-how

For the micro gas turbine MGT100 from Babcock Borsig, Photon developed and produced a new, innovative recuperator – with considerable improvements to conventional solutions.

  • Only 0.1 mm thin stainless steel foil instead of conventional approximately 1.0 mm thick sheets
  • Laser welding at the limit
  • Increased efficiency by 7%
  • Weight reduction by 90%
  • Up to 90% savings on material purchasing

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  • More energy, lower costs – decentralised power generation with Photon know-how

    As part of Germany’s Combined Heat and Power Act, Babcock Borsig developed the MGT100 micro gas turbine.

    The aim was to enable considerably more efficient and environmentally friendly decentralised combined power and heat generation (e.g. in trade businesses) than with conventional solutions such as diesel generators.

    A heat exchanger (recuperator) was designed, which consists of a number of extremely thin sheet-metal partitions to heat up sucked cold air using the warm exhaust gas flow.

    But how thin is possible? The answer was provided by Photon. Instead of conventional 1.0-mm-thick sheets, Photon succeeded in producing a heat exchanger made of 0.1-mm-thin, corrosion-resistant stainless steel foil. An innovation that was made possible only by the many years of experience and technical possibilities of the laser-welding experts from Berlin.

    Photon was responsible for engineering (consulting, design, process, components), 2D laser-beam cutting, forming, and 3D laser cutting and welding of the ultra-thin foils.

    The result? The procurement volume of the material and the weight were reduced by up to 90%, while efficiency increased by 7%.

Shipbuilding

In recent years, yacht- and shipbuilding has progressed

in leaps and bounds – Photon is proud

of being part of this development.

High-tech laser meets luxury yacht

Laser also opens up completely new possibilities in modern ship and yacht construction – as Photon has demonstrated.

The construction of high-end luxury yachts poses big challenges for shipyards. Every component is unique and has to be welded with low distortion according to individual requirements.

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  • High-tech laser meets luxury yacht

    A clear case for Photon. In-depth laser know-how and laser-welding capacities up to XXL make it possible to join even large components to the highest quality standards. Photon is able to weld alternately large or small, straight or angular, with or without a recess – fast, flexibly and precisely.

    In order to achieve the desired flexibility in the production of the unique components for a yacht construction project, however, the guide system of the laser welding head had to be completely redeveloped. Only then could the desired variability be implemented with very short lead times.

    In the end, Photon was able to deliver the laser-welded components (decks, walls and cross frames) from shipbuilding steels in the required quality and on time.