Advantages of Laser Welding Over Traditional Welding Methods

Since the introduction of the first laser in the early decade of the 1960, this unique technology has experienced a fast-paced evolution. In modern times, light amplification technology has been utilized throughout a variety of applications, from manufacturing to military armaments. However, thanks to the persistent progression and comprehensible research of laser technology, they are more efficient, powerful, smaller and economic than in previous generations.

One industry that has benefited greatly from the introduction of laser technology is metal welding. During the operational process known as laser welding, a light beam is amplified providing a focused and strong origin of heat that is used to connect multiple pieces of metal. The high energy density of the laser allows the surface of the material to briefly turn into a liquid state allowing for the pieces to be bonded. This innovative welding process allows for a much more rapid fabrication time and output when paralleled to alternative welding methods. Because of the high welding rates, it works particularly well for large volume applications.

When compared to traditional welding techniques such as arc welding, laser welding has some similarities however it also has its own unique characteristics. The most prominent dissimilarity between two welding processes is the manner in which the energy is reallocated. Like gas metal arc welding, laser welding is process based on fusion performed under inert cover gas. However it provides a much faster welding rate by a substantial margin in addition to generating very little, if any, distortion to the metal piece. Furthermore laser welding does not require the work piece to make a full electrical circuit, unlike gas metal arc welding or electron beam welding. This style of welding not only provides a technical improvement and gain, it also cost-effective benefit over similar techniques. For example, due to the vacuum chamber requirement of electron beam welding, equipment and operation costs can generally be higher compared to laser welding.

Several more advantages include on-line processing, sorter cycles and higher uptimes, and the fact that this type of welding can be used to weld magnetic materials. Because this welding procedure can be transmitted in pulses, meaning that the minimal amount of heat is added is another benefit. The continuous pulsing of the beam allows the metal to cool between each pulse of heat. As a result, there is a very small heat affected zone. This makes laser welding an ideal technique for thin metals or when welding is required near electronics. The small contribution of the energy in conjunction with the visual procedure results in more possibilities when it comes to tooling and materials.

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