The relatively new process of laser welding yields benefits for the creation of various parts and pieces for diverse industries including aerospace, automotive, medical and general retail manufacturing. Laser welding, in some ways, improves upon traditional processes that rely on arc welding engineering to heat and join parts and pieces. Just as lasers have innovated in many other areas of modern life, such as in the medical field, laser technology has been abundantly useful in re-engineering how companies make things.
TIG AND MIG WELDING
Traditional TIG and MIG welding processes using shielding gases to create inert atmospheres involve an arc directed either by a tungsten electrode or a filler wire. Another process called spot welding involves passing a current through a metal piece with two electrodes. All of these traditional methods have contributed to precision welding and advancement in what’s possible in the manufacturing of metal alloys and materials. However, laser welding as a new alternative is redefining how companies are bringing quality and capability to the welding world. Instead of these rather complex processes, the use of a fine laser beam can decrease cost while maximizing efficiency and control.
THE PROCESS OF LASER WELDING
In laser welding, a tightly directed laser beam supplies the heat used to weld metal pieces. The laser conducts a series of short pulses that heat the metal in the exact places that welding is necessary. Laser welding may still use filler material, but it results in a very small heat affected zone, and may need a lot less in terms of follow-up processes than products welded through traditional methods. The process, in general, is more finely implemented, which leads to less of the trimming, grinding, or ancillary processes that are common with older techniques predating the use of lasers.
ADVANTAGES OF LASER WELDING
One of the major benefits of laser welding is weld strength. Implementing a narrow weld, laser welding processes still offer high-strength results for parts and pieces that can stand up to pressure in tough environments.
The smaller heat affected zone also results in rapid cooling, which can be convenient for manufacturing workers, and also limits the amount of heat annealing that goes on over the surface contour of a piece. Also, laser welded parts tend to have less deformation and less scrap than parts welded by traditional methods.
In some cases, laser welding can improve access over processes like spot welding. Again, the efficiency and control of the laser offers a higher-quality and more flexible method.
The lack of physical contact with the actual parts also enables other diverse methods such as Through Transmission Laser Welding or TTLW, where parts are clamped together and treated with the laser beam for specific weld results. Processes like these help with hermetic sealing and precision in seam welding as well.
LASER WELDING IN THE MEDICAL FIELD
One example of the benefits of laser welding is evident in medical manufacturing.
The small heat affected zone and precision utilization of laser welding means tighter welds for smaller micro-pieces. Medical device engineering has evolved to match the idea that laser welding can accomplish welds in smaller physical footprints.
Laser welding is also ideal for high temperature sterilization, and often does not require secondary processing methods afterward, which also matches the needs of some medical manufacturing projects. Items like tools, implants or other metal pieces may benefit quite a bit from the engineering capabilities provided by a laser welding process. That’s why companies that are in the top of their fields are considering how to apply laser welding to various projects, including those that support clinically oriented businesses, whether it’s a medical provider or a supply shop.
OTHER EXAMPLES OF LASER WELDING
Because of the above benefits, laser welding is often employed in the construction of precision parts for both aerospace and automotive industries. For example, laser welding can produce solenoids and other small machined items that fit the needs of transportation companies trying to engineer projects to a high standard. Modern vehicles come with many attached systems, and all of those systems have to be served by the highest quality of mechanical parts, as well as capable control and interface technologies.
Another example of laser welding is in the jewelry industry. Working with various types of metals such as white gold, silver and platinum, as well as alloys of each, professionals are able to implement tiny welds to repair or improve jewelry pieces in ways that provide good aesthetic results. The versatility of laser welding in handling different alloys and metals is also important in this particular application, where jewelers and other parties often create a wide range of products with different alloyed materials.
In some of the above industries, professional engineers understand the dramatic benefits of laser welding in introducing cleaner results. For example, a better seamless weld can eliminate a requirement to run parts and pieces through a secondary process. A tighter, smaller weld can alleviate the burden of putting parts through grinding, deburring, or other finishing methods after the fact.
The bottom line is that laser welding is a critical capability for many processes that involve custom machining of parts and pieces for a client company. The best and most forward-thinking machining and parts production companies are utilizing laser welding and related methods to improve the services they offer to customers.
Weiss-Aug is an established company with a track record of offering laser welding and other services to clients in industries like aerospace and defense, automotive, medical and defense. We understand the process of keeping current with modern technologies, and also of networking extensively with the client to identify that company’s particular needs. Ask us about how we provide quality for manufacturers and third-party firms that need to source supply chains in the best ways possible. Benefit from a partnership with a trusted custom assembly provider and realize the power of modern engineering to improve a supply chain for tomorrow’s demanding business world.