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Laser Welding of Steel and Metals: advantages and operation

Laser welding in an automotive component industry

Laser welding is a technique in which a laser beam is used to join different metal elements. The laser source generates enough heat to join metals together and this process is used in various fields, including the following sectors: automotive, tools, appliances, aerospace, naval, goldsmith, etc.

In laser welding, two pieces of the same material are joined without using filler material. If, on the other hand, a binder is used to join two pieces, the process is called brazing.

The advantages of laser welding

The laser allows the various metal materials to be welded together that can be joined by conventional welding, but the advantages of using this technique are many.

Laser welding is superior both in terms of the quality of the final result and in terms of processing speed, and therefore allows great savings also in terms of costs.

The versatility of the laser allows it to create extremely small welds or very deep welds with maximum speed.

Furthermore, laser welding allows you to connect materials that are difficult to weld with other methods, without having to add material to the base on which you work. Appearance that allows a great cleanliness in the final result and favors the creation of aesthetically pleasing objects.

Among the materials suitable for laser welding there are, among others:

  • hardened steel and stainless steel,
  • aluminum,
  • bronze,
  • titanium,
  • copper.
Another advantage of laser welding is that no further heat treatments are required once the processing is completed, thus keeping the tolerances and geometries of the material used unchanged.

At the same time, laser welding is a delicate process which, in the case of a manual process, requires adequate skills from the operator of the laser system, who must have extensive training that allows him to set the machinery to perfection and to align in the elements that will be welded to the millimeter.

However, the laser lends itself to very high process automations that can almost totally avoid labor costs and significantly increase the quality and repeatability of the process.

Close up Laser Welding Machine for Laser Steel Welding

How Laser Welding on Steel and Metals works

The operation of laser welding is based on the generation of a coherent and focused high intensity beam of light that is directed towards a specific point.

In this way the beam fuses the two parts or materials that are to be joined, creating a clean weld joint, with a clean, thin and resistant line, which is an advantage in terms of quality compared to traditional welding.

The power concentration of the laser beam is so high that it can melt metals in a fraction of a second.

The most commonly used laser sources for laser welding operations on steel and other metals are:

  • optic fiber,
  • CO2 laser,
  • laser diode,
  • solid state laser Nd: YAG.
All these technologies are constantly changing and updating.

The laser beam transfers the energy directly onto the atoms of the metal, so a factor that the operator must take into account when performing manual laser welding is the ability of the material to absorb the beam and the so-called incident radiation.

For further information read -> Types of Laser Welding: from induction welding to keyhole

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