Laser Welding will soon be available at Alubend UK
Another major investment has been made to enhance our Facilities. Laser welding will soon be available at our Telford factory. This adds to a wide range of welding options available in addition to our aluminium bending services. Coded Welding, Both MIG and Tig, Robotic Welding and now Laser welding.
Is Laser Welding better for Aluminium?
Aluminium, especially thinner material as well as certain alloys, is known for being prone to cracking during welding. This is an issue faced by many fabricators when working with 6000 series of aluminum alloys. Or material where the thickness is a key factor.
In these areas, Laser welding is superior to all other methods. By combining the accuracy of standard welding processes, with the delicacy of brazing, it allows the fusing of material that would otherwise be warped or cracked.
Because aluminum doesn’t change in appearance as it approaches its melting point, welding processes which require visual judgment of material can be unreliable. Automated methods, such as Laser Welding, offer more precise and consistent weld quality. This is due to the use of computers to control feed rate, travel speed, power, and weld location.
Laser Welding compared Arc Welding
Laser welding is much cleaner than conventional arc or Tig welding, and therefore limits the risks of contamination. This process is also more precise, easier to automate, and bonds are possible on much thinner material. Additionally, they provide much greater tensile and bending strength.
Unlike arc welding, which requires a bonding material or filler to join two pieces of metal, laser welding creates a straight metal-to-metal bond with no filler needed. Unlike with arc or torch welding, there’s no slag (excess filler that has melted and re-hardened around the weld) to grind off afterwards — or left behind to potentially contaminate the application environment.
What can be Laser Welded
A wide range of materials can be Laser Weld. Die Steel, Carbon Steel, Stainless Steel, Copper, Thermo Plastics and most importantly to us, all Aluminium Alloys. The main difficulties of come from some of the most desirable aspects of aluminium Its innate reflectivity and heat conductivity.
With appropriate welding procedures it is possible to produce reliable, robust laser processes for welding a range of aluminum alloys. The main tenets of these procedures are summarized below.
- High power lasers with good beam quality produce a stable welding
- Cleaning the surface before welding – Good quality welds can be achieved for the most alloys by cleaning the surfaces prior to welding and by providing adequate inert gas shielding of the weld pool.
- Use of appropriate filler wire – reducing cracking in sensitive alloys such as the 6000 series alloys. Providing reinforcements to the weld zone by eliminating undercut from the top or root bead. The filler material also replaces lost alloying elements and improves tolerance to the joint fit up.
- Modulation – Controlling heating and cooling of the weld metal, which reduces the freezing range of the weld metal and minimizes the tendency for solidification cracking.
This form of welding is most likely to be used in industries with very strict guidelines on weight, strength and design. Industries such as: