Laser welding has been implemented successfully for years now in car companies, tier one auto suppliers and other high volume manufacturers. It is a high speed, repeatable process that is perfectly suited for automated manufacturing.
- Advantages of laser welding include:
- Narrow weld profile
- Reduced heat input
- High weld speeds
- Consistent weld bead
- Low operational costs
- No electrode wear
- Non-contact process
- Only requires access to one side of part
- No filler material (typically)
From the simplest rotary weld to a complex three dimensional stamped component laser welding can improve both the manufacturing process and the finished part. With 1000 - 8000 Watt lasers available, PRC has the power and know how to help you evaluate and implement laser welding on your manufacturing floor. Click here to view some samples of laser welded parts.
In laser welding, a highly focused laser beam is applied to a work piece to melt a small weld pool, then either the workpiece or the laser beam is moved to create the required geometry. The welding head may be either a lens head based on a transmissive focal lens or a reflective head based on a parabolic mirror. Because the parabolic mirror can be directly water cooled, and also because it is less susceptable to damage from weld spatter the parabolic head is a better choice for higher power applications.
|Transmissive Welding Head
|Parabolic Welding Head
Penetration vs. Weld Speed:
|A focused laser beam provides an exceptionally small welding tool that is well suited for the finest, most delicate components. Focused heat input provides a narrow weld joint, reduced heat affect zone and minimum part warping or distortion.
A high power laser (5-8kW) is a powerful tool capable of welding to a depth exceeding 15mm in steel or stainless steel. As with any welding process, increasing the linear weld speed decreases the penetration at a given power level.
|The beam quality or brightness of the laser itself plays a part in determining the aspect ratio of the weld. A higher beam quality laser with a gaussian power distribution (left top) will provide deeper penetration and a narrower weld joint.
A laser with a slightly lower beam quality (left bottom)will provide a wider weld which can be mechanically stronger and can make part fit up and tooling design a little less critical.
PRC Laser offers perfect mode quality for any application, from near difraction limited to high order.
Laser Welding Speeds:
The weld speed for any application is determined by a number of variables including laser power, penetration requirements, lens/mirror focal length, beam quality and focal standoff. For reference the chart below gives some general guidance weld speeds for a given laser power.