Hand-held laser welding’s time has come in metal fabrication
Laser technology improvements have made laser welding an increasingly popular technique in industries where high weld strength and repeatable weld quality are important. The quality and brilliance of fiber laser light precisely controls material heat input, which allows for welding thin materials. Lasers are not limited just to steels; they also can weld aluminum and copper. Even bimetallic welding is a practical reality.
Fiber technology simplifies beam delivery technology, opening up even more opportunities for process improvements. Modern beam delivery technology such as wobble welding, where the beam oscillates back and forth, allows for the stabilization of the melt pool, enhancing the process window (the ranges of weld parameters) and minimizing poor or variable part fit-up (within limits). In many cases, this eliminates the need for postprocess grinding, reducing labor costs.
Bill Kallgren, John Bickley, and Laura Garcia