Laser beam welding
Laser beam welding - in brief: laser welding - is a beam welding process that is used to join metals. The heat required to connect the parts is generated by the laser beam which is focussed onto the weld. Laser welding is a very fast and efficient welding process that is highly suited for automated processes.
Precise and suitable for automation
Usually CO2 gas lasers, solid matter lasers or increasingly diode lasers are used as beam sources in laser welding. A special lens is used to focus the laser beam onto a point with a diameter of just a few tenths of a millimetre. The laser processing head is positioned over the approximately airgap-free part. An immensely high concentration of energy is focussed which in turn causes the connection point below to melt and the joint can be created. Due to the concentration of energy applied, the weld cools down very quickly. As a result, the thermal distortion is low and a narrow weld is created. This means that the parts are joined and fitted precisely, and almost no reworking is necessary. Laser welding can be used to create almost all types of joints, for instance butt, filet and overlap welds. It can also be used from a distance and in difficult-to-access parts. If the gap widths are somewhat larger, welding additives should be used on the material.
Laser welding is highly suitable for joining metals and connecting different materials. If light and visually appealing parts need to be produced efficiently, laser welding is used to join aluminium. Steel can also be laser welded with little distortion to create a strong connection very quickly. Thicker parts are connected using the deep penetration welding procedure; the thermal conductivity procedure is used for thinner parts.