What is Laser Welding?
Laser welding is a technique known for its versatility and high productivity, especially for thin section materials and welding at high speeds. For thicker section welds, the laser keyhole welding process can complete a joint in a single pass, and compared to other welding techniques, laser welding has relatively low heat input overall, resulting in low distortion, excellent mechanical properties and minimal post-weld machining.
Laser Welding at Atmospheric Pressure Using a Shield Gas
Shield gasses are consumable and are often necessary to protect the weld area from oxygen and water vapour. As part of the laser welding equipment, we incorporate suitable extraction systems, and compared with electron beam (EB) welding, there are no X-rays produced, so it does not require an expensive vacuum chamber. This also means that productivity can be high, especially where one laser source delivers multiple beams.
Laser welding in vacuum
Laser welding in a vacuum is a relatively new technique that has the advantage of two to three times the depth of weld compared with conventional laser welding with a shield gas. It also has the benefits of reduced oxidation and extremely high welding quality.
Laser welding in air leads to a build-up of plasma, which blocks the laser from penetrating the metal, so the beam must traverse the weld joint quickly. Laser welding in a vacuum doubles the penetration that can be achieved, reduces the amount of weld spatter by removing the plasma and reduces the temperature at which the metal boils, allowing deeper beam penetration.
The vacuum chamber provides a ready-made photon containment environment, thereby removing the need for a protected working environment. CVE’s method of keeping the optical path clean is the key to its success.
S355 steel laser welded in vacuum >20 mm depth using a 6kW laser alongside a photo of equipment at CVE used for development.
Ebflow light combines the benefits of laser welding in a vacuum, including deep penetration welding and exceptional quality with CVE’s patented local vacuum systems (Ebflow) to enable large fabrications to be welded on-site, with a thickness of up to 60mm achievable in a single pass. In addition, weld speeds of up to 30 times faster than those achieved by arc welding processes are achievable.
At CVE, we manufacture both laser and EB welding systems to provide a total solution for our customers, including hardware, software and process ‘know-how’ from one source, with a global team of engineers providing comprehensive after-sales support.
At CVE, we provide a complete solution for our customers including hardware, software and process ‘know-how’.
To learn more about our new laser welding machines, laser welding in vacuum and Ebflow light, please contact us.
In the top header you can see images of: a laser welding machine, laser welding in vacuum and laser weld development.