Laser Welding leverages the extreme precision, non-contact capability of a laser machine to provide clean and reliable welding of even the most thin and fragile materials. Laser welding is used extensively in the medical, electronics, and aerospace industries, among others, to achieve the highest quality welds for economical, high-volume applications, as well as mission-critical and reliable subassembly and assembly manufacture.
Unlike TIG welding and other bonding techniques, laser welding can be employed to join a wide range of materials and material combinations, including stainless steels, carbon steels, aluminum, titanium, various metal alloys, and plastics. Hence, laser welding has become a viable, and even preferred, alternative to adhesive bonding, brazing, soldering, and TIG/EB/resistance/ultrasonic welding. Laser welding provides much higher processing rates, more narrow and precision beads, and much less distortion on the workpiece compared to traditional welding, as the laser welding impacts a small area of the workpiece at extremely high speeds.
Moreover, laser-welding machines are capable of even highly complicated joins, and even welding in small areas of complex 3D geometries, where other welding technologies wouldn’t be viable. Laser welding, like other laser-machining methods, is a non-contact technology that has a limited, heat-affected zone (HAZ), which is why the technology is a preferred method for welding delicate luxury products, such as jewelry. Laser welding is also a more repeatable and consistent process than other welding methods, and contrary to some opinions, laser welding is capable of producing high-strength weldings without the need for filler material, flux, prepping, or secondary cleaning and finishing processes.
A major challenge with most other welding methods and technologies is the joining of dissimilar metals, and even two pieces of some metals, such as aluminum and new alloys. Typically, welding methods other than laser welding require substantial joint preparation and possibly filler metals to enable dissimilar metal welding. These techniques ultimately lead to the production of joint-weakening intermetallics, and present an expensive and complex process. This is not the case with laser welding, as the nature of the interaction of materials and the laser beam remove the need for most join preparation and filler metals, and enable many new options for dissimilar metal joining.
Plastic materials are used in virtually all industries and applications. Often, these materials need to be produced with geometries, which with traditional welding and plastic manufacture, would either be impossible or mitigate the cost benefits of using plastic materials. However, with laser welding, even diverse types of plastics can be joined. Plastic welding is becoming extremely useful in medical and aerospace applications requiring highly consistent and reliable assemblies and structures that are lightweight and chemical/environmentally resistant.
Many of the latest electronics, medical, and industrial applications require thousands and millions of small components to be consistently and rapidly manufactured at much lower costs than previous technologies could offer. Laser welding at high volumes has enabled many applications, such as energy storage with lithium ion batteries and implantable medical devices, to be manufactured in extreme scales, at much lower costs, with greater consistency, at greater speeds, and with much less waste and quality-control issues. Moreover, a laser welding manufacturing process is much more reliable than other welding technologies, as the latest laser-welding machines require little to no maintenance, and virtually no downtime.
Read how laser welding makes your products stand out as being of high quality.