What is laser welding?

Laser welding (LBW, for its acronym in English, laser-beam welding) is a fusion welding process that uses the energy provided by a laser beam to melt and recrystallize the material or materials to be joined, obtaining the corresponding union between the elements involved.

In laser welding there is usually no contribution of any external material. Welding is done by heating the area to be welded, and the subsequent application of pressure between these points. Normally, laser welding is carried out under the action of a protective gas, which is usually helium or argon.

It is mainly used for welding:

Transmission parts in the automotive industry.
Large single pieces.
Large series with good finishes.
Appliance parts.
Parts for the aeronautical industry in aluminium, titanium or nickel.
Railroad industry.
Pressure vessels.
Food industry, when making food packaging, cutting blades.
For medical and surgical instruments.

What are the advantages of laser welding?
  1. Produces a narrow melt zone and heat affected zone, shrinkage, and minimal distortion.
  2. Extremely tight welds can be made.
  3. By using the magnifying optics for alignment, exact placement is possible.
  4. It is a non-contact process, the beam only needs a direct line of sight to the soldered joint.
  5. Sections as thin as 0.025mm have been successfully welded.
  6. Deep penetration is achieved, therefore welds with parallel sides can be made to minimize the amount of fusion.
  7. Travel speeds of up to 500 mm/s can be used.
  8. The process welds some combinations of materials with dissimilar thicknesses and thermal diffusivity that are not possible with other welding processes.
  9. Welds can be done directly in the atmosphere, usually with shielding gases.
  10. No x-rays are generated by the process.

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