At the start of our short series, we clarified what exactly a diode laser is, and today we are looking at its fields of application. As previously mentioned, these fields are broad and diverse, even though there are certain key areas in which diode lasers are very much at the forefront. One of them is the process of metal welding. Diode lasers play a decisive role in various industrial areas: from the wafer-thin copper electric contact-sheet to centimeter-thick ships’ sides made from steel, countless metal components are joined by welding. Today, diode lasers cover the entire joining spectrum and offer suitable tools for a plethora of welding applications. Compared to traditional arc welding methods like MIG/MAG or WIG welding, as well as other laser-based welding techniques, welding with diode lasers is often superior.
In fact, diode lasers are actually ideal for industrial welding processes. There are several reasons for this. Firstly, the combination of high power output and comfortable spot sizes allows for optimum gap bridgeability. Secondly, the energetic homogeneity of the spot and the high absorption capacity of a typical wavelength mix generate unusual calm melt pools that leave almost no impurities on the areas adjoining the seams through spatters or wavelets. This guarantees excellent seam qualities. Thirdly, diode lasers provide the highest energy efficiency of any industrial laser, which, along with their low maintenance costs, also makes them perfect for welding in series production. Fourthly, these lasers can be used for heat conduction welding as well as keyhole welding applications.