Laser Material Processing in Industrial Production

Diode lasers represent an economical, compact heat source that can be adapted for many laser material processing applications by suitable additional components or special optics. Typical applications are welding, brazing or hardening. Laserline diode lasers are also established in newer manufacturing methods such as additive manufacturing.

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Versatile Solution for Laser Material Processing

Thanks to their adaptability, diode lasers cover a wide range of applications in production processes worldwide. Today diode lasers are well established in many industrial sectors. They are primarily used for the welding of steel and aluminum, cladding, coating and repair welding as well as hard soldering and hardening. Diode lasers are also the preferred option for the welding of fiber composites or 3D printing.

Laser Metal Processing

Laserline has developed various systems for the most diverse of applications in laser sheet metal working and other applications for industrial processing of metals. The applications in the field of laser material processing have a wide spectrum and reach, ranging from metal welding over surface treatment to cutting and generative methods such as laser metal deposition (LMD). 

For the processing of metals, Laserline’s high-power diode lasers are, among others, used in the following typical application fields:

Welding of metals / metal welding (aluminum, stainless steel, construction steel, and other metals)

Joints produced with Laserline lasers are particularly strong and show only minimum deformation. Welds produced at high machining speeds achieve an excellent weld surface in heat conduction welding but also in deep penetration / key-hole welding. Deep penetration welding is widely used in the energy sector, for instance for gear components. Diode lasers achieve particularily smooth seams with low spatter. Another important application is the welding of aluminum parts. Due to the short wavelengths near the absorption maximum of aluminum, this method is widely used in the automotive industry where high power diode laser systems are used for body-in-white applications.

Innovative laser sheet metal working: welding of tailored blanks

A relatively recent application is the welding of tailored blanks with high power diode lasers. In this process, components made from different materials or different thicknesses are joined for subsequent forming, so that vehicle components can be optimized as regards their crash behaviour and weight.

Metal hardening

Components hardened with diode lasers meet all requirements as regards improved wear protection, which is crucial for many machine parts, tools and implements. As the hardening temperature can be accurately controlled throughout the process, it is possible to achieve an optimum hardness for each material. Laser heat treatment is also used to prepare high-strength materials for subsequent forming by reducing the hardness in well-defined areas.

Laser brazing / hard soldering (especially in the automotive industry)

Brazing and welding with filler wire are well-established methods for joining metal components. As diode lasers are virtually maintenance-free, they are particularly suited to applications such  as the brazing of car body components in industrial mass production. Minimum space requirements, portability, high efficiency and excellent process stability make diode lasers the most efficient tool for such applications.

Cladding / Coating / Repair welding

Over the last few years, fiber-coupled diode lasers have become very popular for cladding and coating tasks. Diode laser cladding offers many advantages over conventional techniques, such as higher cooling rates, cooling rates and less deformation for improved fine-grain structure and optimized adhesion. The resulting finishes are of excellent quality and require virtually no rework. Laser cladding using powder or wire is a highly efficient option for the repair of damaged coatings and the application of corrosion and wear protection layers on metal components.

Additive manufacturing

The integration of laser sources in machine tools is a recent development with huge potential. By combining additive and subtractive tools in a single unit, manufacturers can explore completely new machining processes. A recent example is a five-axis milling machine with integrated laser. The diode laser applies a powder coating onto the workpiece, providing a solid base for subsequent milling in selected areas. By switching between laser and mill, the workpiece can be reworked to a level of perfection that is simply not achievable by machining the finished part.

Processing of the Most Diverse of Materials

Diode lasers have also been used successfully in the following industrial permanent operations in terms of methods to process composite materials and applications in plastic industry for many years now:

  • Welding of plastic
  • Edgebanding welding in the furniture industry
  • Tape laying and tube wrapping of CFRP tapes (carbon fiberreinforced plastics)
  • Warm machining of ceramics
  • Cutting plastics and other materials

Diversity of Diode Lasers

    We take advantage of the opportunity to match the focus to the power of lasers so that for each application the optimal process with the diode laser in laser metal processing is achieved. Additionally, for various processing tasks, the laser is specified by suitable additional components such as a fiber optic cable, an optic, and more. Thus, our diode lasers can be used within a fairly wide spectrum for laser material processing. Because of continuous improvements to the beam sources in the fields of performance and beam quality, more and more new application fields have presented themselves for our high-power diode lasers. This high flexibility that characterizes our lasers is also reflected in our modular design principle. The continuous development of our systems is supported by our growing know-how in laser material processing and diode laser technology. With this knowledge, we can find the right laser for almost every application.

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