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Laser specialist LAP reports further growth in the US market

News International-French

18 Sep 2014

Increased willingness to invest among pipe producers and manufacturers of building materials.

The production of natural gas through fracking has helped the laser specialist LAP to achieve a leading position in the US market for high-precision pipe measurement. Purchasers especially include pipe manufacturers that are suppliers to the fracking companies. The laser systems allow them to ensure the required consistently high pipe quality. A further important market segment is the revitalized American construction industry, which is showing more and more willingness to invest. Producers of building materials in the wood sector use LAP technology to ensure the dimensional accuracy of their components for wooden prefabricated houses. The US aircraft industry also has full order books and relies on laser projection for optimization.

LAP USA has supplied more than 50 RDMS systems for the measurement of pipe profiles in the USA and Canada so far. "We have thus achieved a leading market position in this sector in North America," explains Karsten Hofmann, president of the LAP subsidiary in the USA. "In order to meet the increasing demand for the Straightness Check system for measuring the straightness of pipes as well, we have already added four employees to our sales team."

LAP systems optimize quality in pipe production
The laser systems of LAP are particularly used by manufacturers who produce pipes for fracking companies. "The RDMS system measures the geometry of the pipes in two to six axes. Straightness Check checks the straightness with laser scan micrometers according to specified parameters," explains Hofmann. With both systems, software provides visualizations that allow workers to check tolerances on monitors almost in real time and to document finished products for quality assurance. Hofmann: "This concerns compressive strength, among other things. After all, the fracking companies pump a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into deep layers of rock at high pressure to produce the freed natural gas. For this enormous stress on the pipes, the quality has to be absolutely perfect."

American manufacturers of building materials user laser measurement for quality assurance
American manufacturers of building materials are also increasingly relying on LAP systems. "In the past years, the manufacturers were in survival mode because the construction industry was totally devastated," Hofmann remembers. "The crisis seems to have been overcome since the beginning of the year; the manufacturers are looking optimistically to the future and are even investing in a more efficient production."

More and more wood-processing companies are using the Thick Check system, for example, to check the thickness of the chip boards that are used to make many prefabricated houses in the USA. Hofmann: "The seven measuring tracks for up to three-meter-thick boards consist of one sensor pair each. As a result of the distance of the sensors to the material measured from above and below, the thickness is quickly and reliably measured and it is ensured that only perfect and competitive products leave the factory."

Positive perspective for increasing sales in the aircraft market
LAP has developed the Composite Pro laser projection system specifically for the manual production of CFK components. "In contrast with the previously used templates, the work with laser lines is cleaner, faster and easier to control," says Hofmann.

In the near future, LAP expects an increased demand on the part of aircraft manufacturers, who constantly endeavor to increase their production efficiency. Hofmann knows, "Due to their full order books, Boeing has set themselves the ambitious goal of finishing one machine of the Dreamliner type every three days and is currently experimenting with various production methods."