The power of light

Photon’s story begins with a passion for the power of light. A pioneer in laser welding technology, Photon is founded in Berlin in 1998. It is an exciting time: the laser opens up a completely new dimension in the processing of sheet metal – especially steel sheets – and leads to significant productivity boosts, especially in the automotive industry.

With a sound understanding of processes, state-of-the-art technologies and comprehensive development expertise, Photon quickly establishes itself as a laser specialist for leading automotive and commercial vehicle manufacturers. In 2002, for example, Photon takes on a leading role for Volkswagen AG in the planning and implementation of one of the largest laser welding projects ever undertaken – the worldwide production of assemblies for the Golf V.

Think Big – from road to rail

But Photon does not want to commit itself to the road alone. With the commissioning of laser welding portal systems for large assemblies, Photon is successfully advancing into rail vehicle construction. The series production of XXL components in lightweight steel construction for rail cars – above all for the ICE 4 – is one of the major successes in the company’s history.

Innovative end products for rail, waterways, roads, telecommunications and general engineering

Photon successfully positions itself as an all-rounder and competence center for sheet metal processing and sheet metal-based products in many areas. With the acquisition of Meißener Nachrichtentechnik GmbH in 2000, the company significantly expanded its range of tasks and services. To this day, everything at the Meissen site revolves around the development, production and assembly of innovative products for rail, automotive and telecommunications infrastructure.

In 2017, the traditional Berlin-based company Kadow & Riese joins the Photon family. This again expands the company portfolio – especially in the area of sheet metal forming and toolmaking. Today, Photon covers the complete sheet metal process chain at two locations and four production sites and is ideally equipped for a wide range of tasks.

Photon keeps moving

Since its foundation, numerous renowned customers from the automotive and commercial vehicle industries, rail vehicle construction, shipbuilding, the space and aviation industries, energy technology and other sectors have benefited from Photon’s concentrated technical and process expertise, high vertical range of manufacture and uncompromising quality standards. Photon is doing everything in its power to ensure that this remains the case in the future.

For the 1,465 wagons of the new DB flagship (Siemens-Bombardier), Photon manufactures side wall and roof segments as well as bows and cross members for the roof and underframe.

Laser welding XXL

Lightweight steel construction: stability & efficiency
Development of the manufacturing concept and support in component design
Highest precision from single part production to automated welding process
The new flagship of the DB fleet will be in service for decades – with maximum speeds of up to 250 km/h.

For the outer shell, this means the highest demands on stability and workmanship. But lightness is also required. After all, every superfluous gram of weight travels along for millions of kilometers, worsens the energy balance and thus causes higher costs in the long term. A tricky task for the wagon builders at Siemens/Bombardier.

The Photon solution: steel and laser. Laser-welded wagon components made of sheet steel offer maximum stability even with thin material thicknesses – without space-consuming internal reinforcements, as would be necessary if aluminum were used, for example.

In Photon’s XXL laser welding gantries, even the thinnest steel sheets can be welded with the highest quality, precision and strength – efficiently, quickly and without visible weld seams on the outer skin. This saves time, costs and material in the production process, creates space in the interior of the train and reduces the ecological fingerprint of the ICE 4.

A solution that convinced Siemens/Bombardier. Over the next few years, Photon will manufacture side panels, roof assemblies and underframe components for around 1,600 carriages of the ICE 4. And many other trains also contain far more than just a piece of Photon. So for the competition, it’s “Stand back, please!”

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