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Advantages of Laser Welding

Monday, November 2, 2009
In recent years, the use of laser beams in welding has steadily increased due to continuous demand for precised steel products in construction and other industrial purposes. Due to many of its advantages, the technology of laser welding is being used in a wide variety of applications in the metal fabrication industry. Many welding experts are now recognizing how efficient laser welding is when it comes to producing better quality fabricated metal products at better productivity and much lower cost.

One of the main advantages of laser welding is its versatility. It is applicable for combining welding steel structures or miniature electronic materials in excess of 1 inch thick. Laser beams are not used only for cutting thick steel plate, they are also capable of cutting other pieces of metal, from structural metal, pipe steels to aerospace components, with magnificent power ranging from hundreds of watts to 60 kilowatts. In fact, weld lines can be as narrow as 0.1mm (0.004 inch).

A typical laser welding equipment consists of a laser beam generator, beam-directing optics to transfer the beam to the work and focus it to the needed spot size and power density. It also has a workstation that normally contains a workpiece handling machine that may either feature automatic or manual loading and unloading. The sophistication of laser welding technology allows stainless steel, ferrous metals and even alloys to be joined themselves or each other.

Another advantage of fabricating metal with a laser is the capacity to engrave and cut at the same time. This means that better productivity, welding speed and accuracy in fabrication are achieved. Laser beams can also produce good-looking welds without post-processing. Many laser welding machines these days have the ability to create welds that are full penetrating and with improved material strength without undergoing any finishing operations.

Moreover, laser welding creates a low heat affected zone, hence causes minimal welding distortion in the metal. It is even safer than other forms of mechanical cutting such as router cut signs or saw cut signage. Working with laser beams doesn’t require physical contact and there’s no unsafe cutting edge which can become contaminated by the metal.

Andrei Smith writes for Midwest Metal Products Company, one of industry’s leaders in sheet metal fabricating and wire forming specializing in producing quality metal products such as custom store fixtures, trash bag stands, hoop steel rings and many others.

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