Laser welding is the process of welding materials together, whether this is one piece or multiple pieces of similar or dissimilar materials. Renowned for the increased strengths of welds, laser welding is an application that businesses simply can’t afford to ignore for quality and cost reasons.
Regardless of the material, thickness or dissimilarity of metals, welding is an application that both our Pulsed and Continuous Wave (CW) lasers can achieve. From fuel cells and batteries through to fine wires for medical device manufacture, if your aim is to perfect your processing techniques then look no further than our range of Pulsed and CW Fiber Laser solutions. These lasers can also be used for many other applications too such as drilling, marking, cutting, etc. all of which can be programmed into a seamless process flow.
Benefit from our “fit and forget” technology, which requires zero maintenance and requires no re-alignment. Our fiber lasers are supplied as complete units in 19” configurations and for most customers save large amounts of space compared to previous technologies.
To read SPI Lasers frequently asked questions about fiber laser welding click this link. For further information about the capabilities of SPI Lasers for welding purposes see our full list of application insights which are detailed below.
Laser welding is a well-established industrial process, but until recently was carried out using continuous wave (CW) or milli second (ms) pulses. Pulsed ns fiber lasers have traditionally been used for marking, engraving and even cutting – all based on ablative processing benefiting from high peak power and short pulse durations. Using these lasers for welding is perhaps counter intuitive but it works! By using high overlap and high frequencies, processing conditions can be achieved that create robust joints in metals.
In fact, the ns welding process can weld just about any metal or combination of metals – including highly reflective and conductive metals. This has always been a challenge due to the formation of brittle intermetallic phases making some metal combinations virtually un-weldable! The ns welding process overcomes these problems through greater control of heat input and through the generation of a very small controlled melt zone.
The ns welding process is a proprietary SPI process and subject to several patents and patent applications.
Laser welding solutions are most frequently used in high volume industries, such as the automotive industry and in manufacturing. The process is extremely popular where the same welding operations are performed repetitively / continuously and can easily and seamlessly be integrated into other processes. This also makes laser welding solutions extremely popular in other industries too, such as in electronics, engineering, medical (the non-contact aspect of the process is important here for sterility), aerospace (including space exploration), jewellery and manufacturing. Welding using lasers can also be used for many other processes such as manufacturing fuel cells, batteries and fine wires for medical devices and other purposes. The use of lasers dramatically reduces the risk of injury to operational staff as they will be quite remote from the area of welding.
The welding of dissimilar metals (i.e. metals, which naturally repeal each other) has always been a challenge traditionally, but this welding challenge has been overcome by the advent of fiber laser welders. Similarly, fiber laser welding has overcome the welding of reflective metals (e.g. copper and aluminium).
Laser welding solutions are most frequently used in high volume industries, such as the automotive industry and in manufacturing. The process is extremely popular where the same welding operations are performed repetitively / continuously and can easily and seamlessly be integrated into other processes. This also makes laser welding solutions extremely popular in other industries too, such as in electronics, engineering, medical, automotive, jewellery and manufacturing.
There are many benefits associated with welding with lasers. Unlike with traditional welding solutions, lasers guarantee the same accuracy consistently every time, absolutely seamless and cosmetically attractive joints whilst also delivering the ability to weld even the most complicated of requirements. Laser welding is ideally suited to manufacturing processes, where the consistency combined with repeatability guarantee 100% accuracy, which is difficult to emulate with traditional manufacturing techniques. The strength of laser welding joins is much valued, even with welding of dissimilar metals.
The welding process is also popular for the production of micro-precision parts, especially in the medical and electronics industries. The extremely low levels of thermal distortion can’t be emulated traditionally, which is another attraction of laser welding, as is the ability to weld in “difficult to reach” places. In general, there is no need to use flux or filler materials as welding joins can be programmed to work without the need for these, which eliminates the need for post-process cleaning.
For further information about the benefits of fiber laser welding, visit our application insight here.
View the SPI Lasers video – “Laser Spot Welding Copper to Stainless Steel”
‘Applications Insights’ are detailed articles on specific applications.
‘Application Postcards’ are bite sized insights on specific applications, designed to be easily digested in a matter of minutes.
Fiber laser welding is deployed in various industries to help with forms of manufacturing that can benefit from the accuracy, repeatability and efficiency that it offers when compared with traditional welding methods.
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AUTHOR: Dr Jack Gabzdyl, VP of marketing and business development, SPI Lasers
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