What is Hybrid Laser-Arc Welding and What Are Its Advantages?

Hybrid-laser arc welding (HLAW) combines the use of laser light and an electric welding arc. The arc is usually provided by a gas metal arc welding power source in the spray-transfer mode. This mode sends a spray of tiny molten droplets across the arc from the electrode to the workpiece and looks much like a garden hose spray. The laser’s tightly focused beam and high energy density help stabilize the arc.

Benefits of Hybrid Laser-Arc Welding

Hybrid laser-arc welding capitalizes on the advantages of two technologies. The first is the laser’s penetration ability and its fast speed. The arc allows the bridging of gaps, slow cooling of welds, and adjustment of metallurgical characteristics, due to the use of a filler wire. The laser’s deep penetration creates a very narrow heat-affected area. This allows welding at high speeds with lower heat input and distortion.

These features of HLAW offer some key benefits. Hybrid welding greatly improves tolerances for joint fit-up. If real-time adaptive control is carried out, tolerances can be many times greater than with laser welding. Weld quality is improved as well. Hot cracking, the formation of shrinkage cracks during the weld metal’s solidification, can be avoided. Depending on the lasers and other parameters, single-pass penetration depth and welding speech can be increased.

Advantages of Hybrid Laser-Arc Welding in Industry

The advantages of the hybrid laser-arc welding process fit well with many industrial applications. Hybrid welding boosts speed and reliability on high-production automotive assembly lines. The greater tolerances ensure strong welds without as much time spent preparing the materials to be joined.

The shipbuilding and rail transport industries benefit from the lower heat input and lower distortion of HLAW over other welding types, such as MAG (metal active gas) or SAW (submerged arc welding). The elimination of distortion correction and re-work dramatically reduce overall manufacturing costs. Reduced overall welding time also cuts further expenses.

Hybrid Laser-Arc Welding and the Value Chain

Shifting value-added work back a step in the manufacturing process can dramatically cut the cost of the work. High-density plasma cutting, laser cutting, and bending in production environments have become extremely precise.

Traditional methods of welding, thermal effects, such as distortion, still forced the need for manual labor from numerous craftspeople in the assembly stages. But HLAW has made the joining process almost as precise as cutting and bending methods. Highly-skilled work at the end of the manufacturing chain can be reduced, eliminating some of the costliest skilled labor.

See How Robotic Laser Solutions Drive Growth

Hybrid laser-arc welding is improving the efficiency, performance, and productivity of modern production. Find out how robotic laser welding from Genesis Systems can drive growth for your business.

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