Fiber laser welding, like other laser-machining methods, is a non-contact technology that has a limited, heat-affected zone (HAZ), which is why the technology is a preferred method for welding delicate products at high speeds. Laser welding is also a more repeatable and consistent process than other welding methods, and is capable of producing high-strength bonds without the need for filler material, flux, prepping, or secondary cleaning and finishing processes. Fiber Laser Welding has enabled many applications, such as energy storage with lithium ion batteries and implantable medical devices, to be manufactured in extreme scales, at much lower costs, with greater consistency, at greater speeds, and with much less waste and quality-control issues. Moreover, a laser welding manufacturing process is much more reliable than other welding technologies, as the latest laser-welding machines require little to no maintenance, and virtually no downtime.
All lasers with a wavelength between 532 nm and 1070 nm deliver the laser to the welding area using a flexible fiber optic cable. The convenience of fiber delivery greatly facilitates the integration of the laser into turnkey laser welding systems. Typically the length of the delivery fiber is between 5-10 meters (m), though it can be up to 50 m, depending upon the type of laser being used. This enables flexible positioning of the laser, which can be particularly useful for certain production lines.
Laser Welding is a welding technology used to join several metal components. A laser produces a beam of high-intensity that is concentrated into one spot. This concentrated heat source enables fine, deep welding and high welding speeds.
Traditional laser welding technologies, such as continuous-wave CO2 welding lasers are limited in terms of accuracy and undesired, high heat input into the weld and the traditional pulsed Nd:YAG welding lasers are limited by the maximum welding speed, the minimal spot size that can be achieved and the electrical to optical energy conversion efficiency that is very bad.
With fiber laser welding, the output power and the oscillation form of the laser beam is possible to change. Fiber Laser Welding is also very suitable for welding materials with a high melting point or with high thermal conductivity due to a very low thermal effect during welding. The energy conversion rate is very high and all this makes fiber laser highly adaptable to various applications for use in various welding assembly processes.
The fiber laser beam used for welding can be adapted as folows and characterized by different laser oscillation modes :
Pulsed laser beam welding (ideal for spot welding)
Continuous laser beam welding (ideal for seam welding)
Ever more applications are demanding a higher precision control, lower heat input and lower electrical energy consumption.
Fiber Laser Welding is a technology that offers ALL those features.
Heat conduction welding is a laser welding method that features a low power output laser beam. This makes for a penetration depth of no more than 1 to 2 mm. With the ability to handle a relatively wide power range, heat conduction welding can be adjusted to the ideal power level, and the shallow penetration makes it possible to weld materials that are susceptible to heat effects under optimal conditions.
This welding type is used for butt joints, lap joints, and other welding applications for thin plates, and can also be used for welding hermetic seals and other seals. Heat conduction welding is also suitable for volatile alloys such as magnesium and zinc, for which keyhole (deep penetration) welding is not suitable.
Keyhole welding (deep penetration welding) uses a high power output laser beam for high-speed welding. The narrow, deep penetration allows for uniform welding of internal structures. Because the heat-affected zone is very small, distortion of the base material due heath from the welding will be minimized.
This method is suitable for applications requiring deep penetration or when welding multiple base materials stacked together (including for butts, corners, Ts, laps, and flange joints).
Above all, the use of laser welding for metal parts improves productivity by reducing the time spent on welding and straightening the welded parts, and allows greater freedom in the designing of parts (simpler assemblies). Laser welding also helps make savings by reducing production costs and the materials consumed by the welding process. This welding method also has an effect on the quality of the assembly by offering mechanical strength that is at least equal to that of the base material, and by reducing the part deformation rate. Laser welding is also an excellent solution for joining subassemblies of dissimilar parts or treated parts (carbonitrided, case hardened etc.)
- Welding productivity can increase by up to 800 %
- Reproducible process
- Reduction or even elimination of the time for straightening welded pieces
- Overall reduction of production costs
- Mechanical resistance at least equivalent to that of the base metal
- Reduction of welding consumables
- Great freedom in the designing of parts
- Welding of dissimilar materials (steel to cast iron, stainless steel to Inconel etc.)
- Welding of precious materials
- Welding close to delicate components
- Welding time is reduced to a tenth
- Reduced deformation of parts
- Welding of parts with limited accessibility
- Process that can be automated
- Assembly with no filler metal