In metal processing, diode lasers are used in various applications throughout volume manufacturing. The applications include precision and spot welding of electronic components, welding of car body parts in the automotive industry; and heat conduction welding in the consumer goods industry or the welding of pipes.
Laser joints are characterized by high welding speed, high levels of stability and very low distortion. At the same time excellent weld seam surfaces can be obtained.
Always a Step Ahead: Diode Lasers
If the requirements with regard to process stability and consistent product quality are high, the laser is the right tool.
In metal welding applications, Laserline diode lasers can be used in conjunction with welding heads of various manufacturers.
As a comparison: lamp-pumped Nd:YAG lasers require a lamp change approximately every 1,000 operating hours, resulting in operating costs a magnitude higher than those of diode lasers.
Clearly Advantageous: Diode Laser
Up to 2,300 W, the size of diode lasers is comparable to that of conventional welding systems such as TIG or MIG. Mobility and compactness make the diode laser the number one choice for a wide variety of metal welding applications as a particularly flexible tool in production.
Hardening and Heat TreatmentDifferent techniques of surface hardening allow for the use of cost-effective materials, also in components that are subject to high mechanical stresses.
If necessary, diode lasers can be used to harden the material in very localized areas, so that only the stress zones of a part are hardened; thus used i.e., in steel and cast iron for tool manufacturing.
A unique advantage of the diode laser hardening process over conventional heat treating processes is the possibility to adjust its spot ideally to the contour requiring hardening and, therefore, to achieve extremely high throughput.
Advantages of Diode Lasers
Its easy mode of operation allows the diode laser to be integrated easily into production processes and, if desired, to be used with an industrial robot.
Compared to other lasers used for hardening, diode lasers have the advantage of a shorter emission wavelength better absorbed by metals, and superior process stability.
Local and Selective Heat Treating
Additionally, diode lasers do not require special absorption layers that can prevent temperature control by a pyrometer and also may result in the contamination of the surface.
Simply put, the advantage of diode lasers compared with conventional technologies is: Better quality.
Hardening with Diode Lasers
In hardening, both direct and fiber-coupled diode lasers are used in conjunction with special homogenizing optics and pyrometers.
Plastic WeldingWelding of plastics by diode laser supplements traditional welding processes, such as ultrasonic, vibration or heat plate welding.
It combines the advantages of non-contact welding, without forming fluff or excess melting, with the ability of a measurable setting path.
Welding of Plastics with Diode Lasers
Laser welding is unique in allowing for high freedom of design in the development of new components and housings.
Diode Lasers with "Top Hat"Laser technology facilitates non-contact welding with low thermal and mechanical load. This is especially advantageous to plastic housings with built-in electronic components that may be damaged in conventional procedures, such as vibration welding or ultrasonic welding.
Compared with conventional solid state lasers, the diode laser has an advantage because of its wavelength and its "top hat" beam profile without intensity peaks. This avoids local overheating that might damage the welded components.
CuttingWhereas in the past, mechanical and thermal processes – such as punching or plasma cutting – were used exclusively, in recent years laser technology has fundamentally changed the methods of sheet metal cutting. In particular, laser procedures offer unmatched flexibility. A broad range of cutting operations is therefore carried out with the use of lasers.
The advantages over conventional procedures include the non-contact cutting process at high cutting speeds. Complex parts with the highest requirements regarding dimensional accuracy and freedom from burr can be produced very economically using diode lasers, even for small batches.
Cutting with Laser
Cladding & CoatingThere are many different ways of surface treatment to protect against corrosion and wear, but diode lasers provide an increasingly popular solution.
The range of possible applications is vast, and the technology has been proven to enable innovation.
Better Quality with Diode Lasers
The simple advantage of diode lasers compared with conventional technologies is: Better quality.
Repair Welding with Diode LasersTraditional processes in cladding and coating often lead to high heat input causing component distortion, development of coarse grain structure and poor adhesion to the base material.
The diode laser, however, allows for low heat input and consistently high quality.
Diode lasers offer advantages to conventional lasers both in the technological and the economical realm: Their cost effectiveness and their robustness. Therefore, complex coating applications can be reduced to this equation: quality + profitability = diode laser
Economically Advantageous Diode Lasers
BrazingBrazing – and the related process of welding with filler wire – are modern techniques for the joining of metal components.
In addition to the requirements of high strength and a small heat affected zone, particularly high demands are made on the appearance of the weld seam in the case of visible seams.
Laser Brazing in Automotive Industry
Therefore, in the automotive industry, laser brazing is used for joining the visible, external parts of vehicles, for example trunk lid, roof seams, doors or C pillars.
Greatest process stability and high availability of equipment in three-shift production are requirements in the automotive industry which are ideally met by the diode laser that is considered proven technology in many applications.
Low Space Requirements
The diode laser is clearly superior to other laser beam sources because it is almost maintenance-free with a lifetime of more than 30,000 operating hours and excellent efficiency. As a comparison: Lamp pumped Nd:YAG lasers require lamp changes by trained maintenance personnel approximately every 1,000 operating hours, resulting in considerable down time.
Increasingly, floor space reduction has become a must when designing new production lines. One advantage of diode lasers is their small footprint, which is only about a fifth of the footprint of other lasers in the same performance class.
Almost Maintenance Free
Being compact and robust allows for the diode lasers to be mobile, enabling entirely new backup strategies. For maintenance work or in the case of a malfunction, the laser can simply be exchanged and replaced.