The power of light
The history of Photon began with a passion for the power of light. Founded in Berlin in 1998, Photon began to specialize in the use of – the then pioneering – laser-beam welding technology. It was an exciting time: laser was breaking new ground in the processing of sheet metal, particularly steel metals, enabling a considerable increase in productivity, most notably in the automotive industry.
With an in-depth understanding of the processes involved, state-of-the-art technology and extensive developmental expertise, Photon quickly established itself as a laser specialist for leading automobile and commercial vehicle manufacturers. In 2002, Photon played a prominent role in the planning and implementation of one of the biggest laser-beam welding projects to date: the worldwide production of assemblies for the Volkswagen Golf V.
Think Big – from road to rail
But Photon didn’t want to be tied to the road. With the installation and operation of large-scale laser beaming portals, Photon successfully conquered a new field: rail vehicle manufacturing. The serial production of XXL components as lightweight steel constructions – particularly for the ICE 4 high-speed train – is one of the great successes in the company’s history.
Innovative products for communications and infrastructure
As an all-rounder and centre of excellence for sheet-metal processing and sheet-metal-based products, Photon has always been keen to explore new horizons. With the takeover of Meißener Nachrichtentechnik GmbH in 2000, Photon extended its range of services considerably. At the Photon site in Meißen, the focus was and still is on the development, manufacturing and assembly of innovative products for rail, automotive and telecommunications infrastructure.
Acquiring the long-established Berlin-based company Kadow & Riese in 2017, which specialised in sheet forming and tool making, Photon again enhanced its portfolio. Today, with two major company and four manufacturing sites, Photon provides a wide range of services in all areas of sheet-metal processing as well as offering genuine, innovative Photon products for various lines of communication (rail lines, waterways, roads), components for public transportation (e.g. rail vehicles and buses) as well as enclosure and telecommunications technology.
Staying in motion
Since its foundation, numerous well-known customers from the automotive and commercial vehicle industry, rail-vehicle-construction, shipbuilding, space and aviation industries, energy-technology and other sectors have benefited from Photon’s technical and processing expertise, high level of vertical integration and uncompromising quality standards. Photon is doing everything in its power to ensure that this remains the case in the future.
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
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!”
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