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Graphic element Research > Growth > Research projects > Previous projects > Industrial Processes > Welding of advanced materials using high-powered YAG lasers
Graphic element Welding of advanced materials using high-powered YAG lasers
     
 
A fully automated system for continuous wave laser welding of aluminium alloys, including a weld quality monitor, operates in three dimensions at five times faster than the state of the art.
 

Welding has long been a mainstay operation in sectors as varied as automobile manufacturing, and large-scale construction, but conventional welding methods are laborious and time-consuming and require a high degree of skill. More recently, the use of robotics has increased the speed and precision of welding operations. Now the application of laser technology promises further advances.

This project was aimed at developing a new system for industrial-scale welding of aluminium alloys, using high-powered Nd-YAG lasers. Weld quality assessments pointed to continuous wave as the most efficient laser mode, displaying high beam quality when compared with pulse and pulse-sustainer modes. The new system includes fully automated robotics and can operate at 10 metres per minute on 2mm-thick sheets in three dimensions, a five-fold increase in speed relative to conventional methods. A weld quality monitoring device using light reflected from the welding zone was also developed.

The new system produces high-quality welds with excellent mechanical properties. Applications in the production of light cars are envisaged for the near future. Partners say their results are an important contribution to the maintenance of European leadership in industrial science and technology.

Cordis RCN: 22805
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