In 2015, Trumpf, Inc. utilized the Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s Environmental and Emissions Research Facility (EERF) to test a piece of equipment that uses a laser to cut sheet metal for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and job shops alike. The testing went so well their research and development team returned last month to test another machine (TruLaser 1030) in cold and hot weather environments.
“Our company recently began to explore the entry-level market for laser cutting,” explains Steve Ennis, supervisor in Trumpf’s Research and Development (R&D) Test Department. “By entering this entry-level marketplace, we are going to places like India and China, where some of the companies may not have walls on their buildings. So they are obviously very susceptible to climate changes. If we want to sell to those customers, we have to have options available that allow our machines to operate in extreme temperature ranges. TTI’s Environmental Chamber is perfect for our R&D needs.”
Jeremy Johnson, TTI research specialist and EERF manager, stated that they were happy to have Trumpf return for another round of testing.
“When they arrive for testing, I basically hand over the keys to the facility,” said Johnson. “They set up their equipment in our testing lab, and then their computers in our adjacent office. We want them to have all the resources necessary to successfully test their new machine before it’s sent out to customers.”
According to Ennis, the TruLaser 1030 is a four-kilowatt disc-style laser that uses a fiber-optic cable for the laser transmission used for cutting. By testing the machine in extreme cold, down to -5 degrees Celsius, personnel can check antifreeze to ensure water lines are not frozen. On the other end of the temperature spectrum, extreme warm-weather testing up to 50 degrees Celsius allows the R&D team to test the chillers on the machine for proper operation.
“We have had a good experience testing with TTI,” noted Ennis. “The scheduling worked out perfectly as our test plan is roughly a month long. The other issue that worked out for us is the size of the chamber. With our machines, we have a lot of exhaust; if you have an area that is too small, it heats the area too much, and you don’t get accurate results from the tests.”
“The testing that Trumpf, Inc. performed truly illustrates the versatility of this one-of-a-kind facility,” said TTI Director Greg Winfree. “The fact that they’ve traveled from Connecticut twice shows that not only were they pleased with the performance of the Environmental and Emissions Research Facility, but also the support they received.”