Raymond Laser Welding Machine
Raymond laser welding machine adopts the latest generation of fiber laser and is equipped with self-developed welding head. It has the advantages of simple operation, beautiful weld seam, fast welding speed and no consumables. It can perfectly replace the traditional metal materials such as thin stainless steel plate, iron plate and galvanized plate. Argon arc welding, electric welding and other processes. The equipment has high reliability and can be continuously and stably processed in 24 hours. The compact design ensures a minimum floor space and is easy to move.Compared with traditional welding technology, nowadays Raymond laser welding machine can precisely locate by spot in micro-welding,the spot energy distribution of optical fiber laser welding machine is uniform,suitable for all kinds of weld's screams,can customize special automatic fixture to realize mass production of products,can be welded at room temperature under special conditions.
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Laser Welding Machine: The Ultimate Buying Guide in 2020
Are you interested in laser welding technology? And you are looking for the missed piece of information necessary to stand better while you purchase the laser welding machine?
Here, you will find what you’re looking for! In this dedicated buying guide, we will be discussing everything about the laser welding machine starting from describing its types, core components, mechanism and applications to introducing some tips about the benefits, downsides and the price besides formulating some instructions about the installation, operation, and maintenance of this machine.
Let's dive into the ultimate buying guide of the laser welding machine:
1. What's the definition of the laser welding machine?
While the laser is well known for its use in cutting, marking, and engraving, this technology is also used to perform high precision welds with the laser welding machine.
The laser welding machine is one of the most advanced welding machinery that has dramatically replaced normal welding processes in the last few years and has gradually proven its efficiency for engineering applications, especially in the automotive, transport, and energy industries.
The laser welding machine offers you a contact-free process that assures the fusion of materials by using a highly concentrated laser beam as a heat source. In other words, the extreme concentration of the laser melts the welding points or lines all over the seam, and within only a few milliseconds the weld cools and creates a strong and instant fusion of the materials.
With the laser welding machine, you can weld many metals and different materials especially thermoplastics, jewelry, and much more. Thanks to its precision and finesse, a laser welding machine allows you to get meticulous and deep welding of virtually any welding shape at high speed without filler material, and with almost no adjustment required because the laser welding is characterized by minimal or no-existent distortions comparing to other welding techniques.
2. What are the types of the laser welding machine?
The laser welding machines are classified based on the types of the laser source and the operating modes.
2.1 Classification by the type of laser source
The laser welding machines can either use fiber, gas like Co2 gas or solid-state such as YAG (yttrium, aluminum, and garnet) laser mediums to produce laser beam with specific wavelengths, and each machine is named after its respective laser mediums. From this perspective, we can divide laser welding machines into three types:
- Fiber laser welding machine: this is the most frequently used laser welding machine that uses an optical fiber as a laser medium, which excites the incoming light to produce a laser wavelength that can be absorbed metallic material. Thus, this machine is ideal for processing welding of virtually any kind of metals.
- Co2 laser welding machine: as the name suggests, this machine uses most commonly a Co2 (carbon dioxide) as a form of gas laser medium to generate a high-power laser beam with a wavelength of 10.6 nm that serves for welding a wide range of materials such as thermoplastics and other non-metallic materials, not to mention its ability to weld even some metals.
- YAG laser welding machine: it’s a machine that utilizes the typical form of solid-state laser welding. Basically, the light gets excited inside the YAG medium and takes its way through an optical fiber to produce a laser beam with a short wavelength. Comparing to Co2 and fiber types, YAG laser welding uses an energy laser beam that is efficient for applications that need perfect laser control.
2.2 Classification by operating modes of the laser welding machine
According to their operating modes, the laser welding machines are divided into two main types:
- The desktop laser welding machines
Do you operate in a workshop or a laboratory and you intend to perform welding of small-sized to micro-sized workpieces like jewelry, electronics, and medical implants?
If your answer is yes, it will be very suitable for you to adopt the desktop operating mode, which offers you a compact laser welding machine that is ergonomically designed in particular to fit small workstations. The desktop laser welding machine is handy and very easy to set up. It comes with an integrated cooling system, a display screen, and a microscope that offers you a real-time view from the positioning of the workpiece to the finishing of the welding process. Having a laser welding machine with such features will definitely help you to optimize your throughputs.
- The handheld laser welding machine
Handheld laser welding machine-Photo Credits:Fiber laser manual welding
If you are planning to use the laser welding machine to process intricate welding shapes on relatively big and large workpieces that are located in different places at your workstation, then the best solution is to use the handheld operating mode.
The handheld laser welding machine adopts the latest technology of fiber laser and is equipped with a laser welding gun that comprises an intelligent laser welding head. It can be widely used in kitchen utensils, home appliances, mold industry, stainless steel door and window, handicrafts, furniture, auto parts, advertising industry, and much more.
With the handheld operating mode, you can operate various welding applications very conveniently, an achieve the job easier than when there are some parts that would have been very difficult to reach if you would have to use the desktop laser welding machine.
Besides the handheld feature, the laser welding machine is movable, which offers you ultimate flexibility. You just need to pull the machine towards the appropriate location of the workpiece and grab the laser welding gun and perform the welding operation at ease.
You would ask the question: how to choose between these two distinguished operating modes?
To pick out properly the operating mode that matches better your requirements, it would be very important to consider the following factors:
- Type of material which is intended for welding
- Size of the material: whether it be micro, small or large size
- Type of the welds and their location (easy or difficult to reach)
- Level of production (small or large-scale)
- Space of the workstation (small workshop, laboratory or factory, etc)
3. What are the main parts of the laser welding machine?
A laser welding machine consists of a composite laser system that combines different components that interconnect together to produce a laser beam with the precise light wavelength used in the welding process.
Normally, a laser welding machine is mainly composed of the following parts:
- Energy source: it is the element that supplies the laser system with the proper energy (e.g the flashlight) to produce the laser beam.
- Laser medium: it stands for the substance whose atoms get excited when they are exposed to the energy of the power source to produce an amplified light with a high energy state. The type of laser medium will be chosen according to the type of material to be welded, for instance, optical fiber is a laser medium used in laser metal welding.
- Welding head: the laser head contains a focusing system that works like a magnifying glass. Basically, the laser beam is oriented by a set of mirrors and an optical fiber from the laser source to the welding head where it passes through a focusing lens that emits a very tiny spot of light on the surface of the materials.
- Motion control system: this is the mechanism that ensures the movement of the laser beam systematically in accordance with the requirements of welding. There are three types of motion control systems:
- stationary laser head and moving welding workbench
- moving laser head and stationary welding workbench
- laser head and welding workbench both in movement
4. How does the laser welding machine work?
4.1 The working principle of the laser welding
Laser welding-Photo Credit: Welding Master
That's what happens when you process the laser welding:
- when you turn on the laser welding machine the energy source starts to supply the laser medium(e.g. a ruby crystal or an optical fiber), the atoms inside this medium will be put in a high energy state and then start to emit light photons back and forth by induced emission.
- a laser beam with high energy density can be obtained as soon as you launch the laser to operate, which allows the light photons to pass partially through the reflecting mirror and get focused into a very tiny light spot (laser beam) using a focusing lens.
- the motion control system controls the laser movement across the welding location according to your predefined settings.
- once the laser beam is focused on the materials the heat-affected zones melt and fuse in a matter of few seconds, so you get your workpiece welded.
4.2 The oscillation modes of the laser beam
- Pulsed laser beam mode: by applying the pulsed mode, you can perform spot welding on metals that are relatively light and thin like sheets of metal. Your welding occurs intermittently which doesn’t expose the welded points to long heat durations which prevent it from deformation.
Pulsed laser beam mode-Photo credit: DK Photonics
- Continuous laser beam mode: given the continuous repeatability of the laser under this laser beam mode, you will be able to perform seam welding particularly for thick and robust materials.
Continuous laser beam mode-Photo credit: DK Photonics
4.3 Laser welding methods
It is fundamental to differentiate between two laser welding methods:
- Heat conduction welding: in principle, the laser welding by conduction method requires low energy density less than 1MW / cm², which implies a shallow effect of the laser beam with a welding depth lower than 3 mm. The low penetration of the laser beam makes this method ideal for welding thin plates like metal sheets. Unlike conventional processes, conduction laser welding limits the thermal deformations of the processed materials.
Heat conduction welding process of metal-Photo credit: Laserline
- keyhole welding: called also deep penetration welding, this laser welding method is characterized by significant energy density and high process speed. With more than 5 MW / cm² energy density, the laser beam is capable of vaporizing the heat-affected zone to create a deep and narrow “keyhole” that is filled with the melt, this keyhole follows the path of the laser beam over the seam resulting in the solidification of the welding. The keyhole welding method is ideal for welding applications that require deep welding or when different layers needed to be joined together at once.
The keyhole welding process of metal-Photo credit: Laserline
5. What are the applications of the laser welding machine?
The micrometric precision and high operating speed of laser welding make it an ideal welding solution for many applications ranging from relatively thick and robust metallic plates used in automotive and aerospace industries to small scale devices applied in medical and electronic industries that require high precision welding.
5.1 laser welding in the automotive industry
The automotive industry is the best example of industries that took advantage of laser welding to enhance the quality of production. If you are active in this industry, it is recommended to make use of the fiber laser welding machine due to numerous benefits:
- cost-effectiveness: allows you to weld dissimilar metals at low cost
- Enables you to process reflective metals without being hindered
- high productivity: effective welding for mass production
- Enables you to produce strong welding seams
There is a large list of fiber laser welding applications in the automotive industry. The following, are some of the commonly used applications:
- Welding driven gear
- Welding double-clutch transmission
- Welding transmission shaft
- Welding shafts and steering shafts
5.2 Laser welding in the medical industry
By comparing it with other welding techniques, you will notice that laser welding has significant advantages, in particular for implanted medical devices and it ideally meets the health and safety requirements related to this sector.
Why is laser welding an ideal solution for medical devices?
- Laser welding retains the biocompatibility of implanted medical devices like pacemakers that consist of electronics and sensors, these elements are too sensitive.
- Non-contact feature of laser welding can preserve the levels of sterility of medical devices. Further, it limits the oxidation effect of the weld under neutral gas protection.
- Laser welding reduces the heat-affected zone so as to prevent any eventual deformation of the medical device.
If you want to integrate the laser welding technology in your medical activity, it would be suitable to choose the fiber laser welding machine. It is ideal for welding active implants such as pacemakers, defibrillators, drug-pump, and much more. Below are selected some of the widely used laser welding applications in the medical industry:
- Laser welding of titanium pacemakers
Laser welding of titanium pacemakers-Photo credit: Amada Weld Tech
- Laser welding of drug pumps
Laser Welding of drug pumps-Photo credit: Amada Weld Tech
- Laser welding of the polycarbonate infusion pump
Laser welding of polycarbonate infusion pump-Photo credit: Leister
- Laser Welding of fine wires for stents
Laser Welding of fine wires for stents-Photo credit: Amada Weld Tech
- Laser welding of the metal guide wire
Laser welding of metal guide wire-Photo credit: Amada Weld Tech
5.3 laser welding in the electronic industry
As you know, electronic devices are made of extremely sensitive elements ranging from small-sized to micro-scaled such as batteries, sensors, semiconductors, disk drive flexures, etc. The assembly of these delicate components with the conventional welding techniques without affecting the functional integrity of the electronic device is quite a challenging task. Batteries, for example, may damage when you process it with conventional welding techniques because they cannot withstand high temperatures.
Laser welding contributed remarkably to the advancement of the electronic industry. With proven results, the welding technology offers you many advantages for welding electronics:
- the high precision of the laser results in less heating effect, which ensures the heat-sensitive elements to be welded consistently without deformation.
- the non-contact feature of the laser beam allows you to produce fine and neat laser welds with no necessity for further processing.
- fiber laser provides you the ability to weld on microscopic scales at high precision, a feature that revolutionized microelectronics manufacturing.
The applications of fiber laser welding in the electronics industry are numerous, below are few examples of the widely used applications in this industry:
- Laser welding semiconductors
Laser welding semiconductors-Photo credit: Laserstar
- Laser welding cylindrical batteries pack
Laser welding cylindrical batteries pack-Photo credit: Amada Weld Tech
- Bridge wire welding of sensors
Bridge wire welding of sensors-Photo credit: Amada Weld Tech
6. How to understand the laser welding machine specifications?
As a new user, prior to buying the laser welding machine, it is very important that you get familiar with its specifications. You have to be aware of the main function of each specification and to particularly understand how they contribute to the performance of the laser welding process.
Actually, acquiring this knowledge with no doubt will help you to choose properly the specifications that match your requirements, but also it will guide you to select the appropriate parameters for your laser welding applications.
Below are explained the main specifications of the laser welding machine:
- Laser type: This specification indicates the type of the laser medium. Depending on your laser welding applications you can either choose to use Co2 tube, Nd: YAG, or optical fiber.
- Welding power: It’s a primary specification that represents the amount of energy used to determine the power density of the laser beam. The laser power decides the depth of penetration of the laser beam.
- Welding speed: Another core specification that determines the distance crossed by the laser beam across the workpiece, in other words, it is the amount of heating input per unit of time. Therefore, a fast welding speed enables a smaller heating input, while a slower welding speed leads to relatively larger heating input.
- Focal spot: The diameter of the focal spot depends on the diameter of the laser beam. A small focal spot allows greater power density without increasing the laser power which enhances the penetration of the laser. However, a small focal spot requires very high precision positioning of the laser.
- Welding depth: This specification is measured in millimeters. Depending on the laser welding speed, laser welding power, and the type of the processed material, the laser beam penetrates the workpiece to a certain thickness that indicates the depth of the weld pool. The laser welding is applicable for joining a wide array of materials with few millimeters of thickness to a maximum welding thickness of up to 25 millimeters. Normally, the welding thickness of keyhole welding is deeper than heat conduction welding.
- Oscillation mode: Mainly, there are two oscillation modes pulsed and continuous. As explained earlier in this article, the pulsed mode is applicable for spot welding whereas the continuous mode is used to produce seam welds.
7. What are the support equipment and consumable materials of the laser welding machine?
7.1 Laser welding support equipment (accessories)
Equipping your laser welding machine with support equipment would certainly enhance the quality of your welding applications and improve the safety of your working environment. There are different types of support equipment, below are mentioned some of the commonly used support equipment:
- Power meter: this device allows you to check the laser performance by measuring the average power output to see whether the welding process is operating consistently.
Power meter-Photo credit: Amada Weld Tech
- Laser welding goggles: these protective glasses are essential for ensuring the safety of your sight when you operate the laser. Hence, they must be always worn when the laser welding machine in use.
Laser welding goggles-Photo credit: Amada Weld Tech
- Fume exhaust system: the laser welding process emits some residues in the air like gases and dust which are harmful substances to breathe in by the operators. For this reason, it is mandatory to have a fume exhaust system inside your laser workshop because it helps to remove instantly all dust and smoke and maintain a clean and healthy environment by improving indoor air quality.
Fume exhaust system-Photo credit: Shdlaser
- Gas regulator kit: by using this equipment you can set properly the parameters of the shield gas supply for optimal gas delivery. An accurate float and pressure of the shield gas are important for producing distortion-free welding.
Gas regulator kit-Photo credit: Orionwelders
- Microscope: this laser accessory adds great value to the laser welding machine. The microscope provides you an extremely detailed view with extraordinary zoom capacity especially when you process the laser welding on small to micro-scale levels.
Microscope-Photo credit: Amada Weld Tech
- cooling system: the cooling system can be either water or air chiller, it assists you to maintain an acceptable temperature level inside the laser system by cooling down regularly the components which mostly heat up when the laser welding machine is working, like the power generator and the laser source.
cooling system-Photo credit: Amada Weld Tech
7.2 laser welding consumables
- Shielding gas supply: as the name suggests, this gas consumable performs as a shield to protect the weld pool from reacting with the substances of the surrounding atmosphere. With smooth and constant gas flow (e.g. oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen), the shielding gas supply provides you good quality welds and ensures an effective welding process.
Shielding gas supply-Photo credit: GCEgroup
- Laser welding filler: the use of the welding filler is optional, it comes in various alloys sized and shaped differently according to the requested application and the very popular forms of the filler are rods and wires. You will need to use it only when you require more secure and high-strength welded joints.
Laser welding filler-Photo credit: DIM International
8. What are the advantages and disadvantages of the laser welding machine?
8.1 Advantages of laser welding
After getting to the nitty-gritty of the laser welding technology and displaying its countless applications in different industries you would apparently be convinced how versatile and effective is this technology compared to conventional welding techniques whose applicability is limited. Below are the main advantages of using the laser welding machine:
- Ultimate precision laser welding machine: the laser welding machine has the ability to process the most intricate and tiniest parts with high precision leaving no distortions in the welded area.
- Faster welding: processing at high speed is one of the outstanding properties of laser welding. Regardless of the material depth, just a few adjustments of the parameters would let the laser produce weld in a matter of seconds.
- Non-contact welding process: this means that there is no physical contact with the processed material, but rather the laser head exposes the material to tiny light (laser beam), which allows reaching inaccessible areas that won’t be reached otherwise.
- Minimal heat input: another property of laser welding is that it applies low temperatures compared to conventional welding methods. Such property reduces improper distortions that may occur at the heat-affected zone, which makes the laser welding the best alternative for welding luxury products and heat-affected products.
- Automated laser welding machine: unlike normal welding techniques that require certain skills to operate the welding process, laser welding is an automated process that operates via computer input which limits to an extent the human manipulation, allowing, therefore, great control of the entire process and a huge gain in productivity.
- Welding dissimilar materials: the fiber laser is capable of welding several types of joins even when the materials possess different physical properties.
- Robust welds: the excellent depth-width ratio of laser welding enables the creation of extremely high-strength and long-lasting welds, an advantage that fulfills the quality requirement in many industries.
8.2 Disadvantages of laser welding
- Cost of the laser welding machine: the main disadvantage is the significant cost of this machine due to high operation and maintenance-related costs. However, the price tends to decrease since this technology becoming more accessible than before.
- Intensive training to operate the machine: acquiring a thorough knowledge of new technology is a prerequisite for effectively using it. Likewise, when you purchase a laser welding machine you will need to request your supplier to offer you intensive training to prepare the users to be qualified to operate the machine. However, this training may incur a significant expense.
- Safety and health risks: although the laser offers you countless advantages, it might be harmful to your health especially the eyesight and skin. For this reason, it is mandatory to wear protecting glasses and professional gloves to ensure a safe working environment.
9. What's the price of the laser welding machine?
Like any new technology, laser welding technology remains far more expensive than traditional welding techniques. Even simple, small, and micro-scaled welding applications would cost you roughly a few thousand dollars to purchase the laser welding machine that fulfills such requirements.
It is worth noting that despite the expensiveness of the laser welding machine that counts as one of its disadvantages, you have to keep in mind that it remains cost-effective because no matter how much you will pay, all expenses will be compensated by the numerous advantages offered by the laser welding besides the astounding manufacturing quality, automated laser welding system and high productivity, which enables you to yield numerous benefits, especially for long-run operation and you hence your investment pays off.
As you know, conventional welding methods require certain treatments to be done on the workpiece before and after welding and they are known as pre-processing and post-processing. For example, in MIG welding, thicker workpieces need some sort of beveling with a certain machine before welding it, and when the weld is produced, the workpiece has to be smoothened with a grinding treatment to reduce the distortions. Therefore, both treatments are time and cost consuming.
Such treatments are no longer a requirement if you use the laser welding machine, which offers gains in terms of time and cost, and helps enormously in finishing the welding at very low expenses yet getting high-quality welds. Not to mention that with a computer-automated system, the laser welding machine cannot tolerate virtually any distortions.
In short, even if the overall cost of the laser welding machine will seem too expensive, just remember that these expenses will be driven down by the benefits that you will yield in long term usage, which is not the case for conventional welding methods.
10. How to operate and maintain the laser welding machine?
During the negotiation about the price of the laser welding machine, its specifications, and shipment terms, it is necessary to ask your supplier as well about the after-sale services. Try to request how the installation, training, and maintenance services will be provided by your supplier after the laser welding machine arrives at your destination.
10.1 Installation and operation of the laser welding machine
Usually, your supplier will take charge of the installation of the laser welding machine at your place by sending qualified engineers to achieve the task. But before getting this service done, you have to discuss in advance the conditions of installation service with your supplier to be aware of the duties of each part, for instance, determine who will be in charge of the expenses related to the travel and stay of the engineers to your destination that includes visa fees, airfare, accommodation, and meals.
If you see that you will incur a charge that you can’t afford to pay, for example, you can’t pay the expenses of the engineers to come to your place, in this case, it is preferable to request your supplier to assist you remotely through dedicated videos that explain further how to follow all the instructions and guidelines mentioned in the manual user that comes with the laser welding machine.
This manual user is designed to help you set up the machine properly as well as taking the necessary precautions to avoid improper use or malfunction of the equipment, but most importantly to ensure your safety by applying the precautionary standards to avoid getting exposed as much as possible to susceptible harm or damage caused by laser radiation.
Example of the installation and operation guideline of the handheld fiber laser welding machine:
- Installation of the machine
- Connect the fiber transmission wire into the laser source.
- Connect the laser source power supply and the air pipe with the laser welding machine.
- Turn on the main power of the machine, the water chiller power, and the laser switch button in turn.
- Ensure that the emergency stop switch is released.
- Add water to the water tank and connect it with the water pipe, then press the start button to add water to the cooling system.
- Make sure the water cooler temperature is working properly.
- Turn on the laser key switch and rotate it to the REM direction.
- Confirm that the power light is green.
- Operation process
- At this time, you can switch into the desired language and start to set the welding parameter setting on the display screen.
- Adjust the laser mode (pulsed or continuous).
- Adjust the laser power and speed (in accordance with the thickness of the workpiece).
- Connect the safe ground clamp with the laser welding gun and the welding material in order to ensure your safety.
- Wear welding goggles to operate the laser welding safely (protect your eyesight).
- Adjust the position of the laser head on the workpiece by aligning the red dot with the initial position of the seam.
- Keep pulling the trigger of the laser welding gun and slide the laser head along the seam till the joint is produced, then release the trigger.
- Press the key “OFF” on the display screen.
- Turn off the laser key switch.
- Then turn off laser power, water chiller power, and lastly turn off the main power switch.
These are some of the safety labels to consider carefully when you work on laser welding machine:
10.2 Maintenance of the laser welding machine
How to conduct the maintenance of the laser welding machine?
Conducting the maintenance of the laser welding machine has to be a regular task in order to anticipate the breakdowns. The maintenance staff at your workstation must be trained very well to be ready for this mission so that they achieve the task properly without causing any damage while performing the maintenance.
There are two major types of maintenance, preventive maintenance, and corrective maintenance, and each one takes place at different times and manners:
- Preventive maintenance: it’s a periodic inspection of the laser welding machine that allows the detection of small bugs in some parts and anticipates the occurrence of breakdowns. You can permit your maintenance staff to perform this type of maintenance and it is not costly, it comprises the following tasks:
- Check the power supply wires regularly and examine if it supplies the power effectively.
- Inspect the optical components regularly if the machine is not used for a long time, by cleaning the laser head, the lens protection glass, and the fiber transmission wire from dust or polluting substances.
- Examine the cooling system:
- check frequently whether the over-temperature alarm works normally if it malfunctions then check the circuit and detect and fix the damage.
- Inspect the purity of the cooling water by cleaning the water tank and the pipeline, and keep the water cooler in order to maintain an appropriate conductivity level of the circulating water, and therefore ensure an efficient laser output.
When you have the laser welding machine installed correctly, operated properly, and checked frequently, the occurrence of downtimes will eventually decrease, which helps to maintain a longer lifespan of the machine.
- Corrective maintenance: this type of maintenance takes place when the machine or some of the breakdown of its components. In this situation, you are not allowed to let your periodic maintenance staff intervenes, but you must call for the intervention of the supplier’s engineers to fix or replace the damaged parts. The cost of repairing depends on the terms mentioned in your agreement with your supplier.
As far as you have assimilated the content of this article, we are pretty sure that you have acquired a very satisfying knowledge about many aspects of the laser welding machine. We believe this knowledge would let you search more professionally and negotiate at ease with laser welding machine suppliers, and help you to make the right buying decision.
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