New developments in advanced welding

Future trends

LD-pumped solid-state lasers, such as disk and fiber lasers, are being investigated regarding higher power, higher beam quality, higher efficiency and fiber delivery. They are also expected to act as heat sources in place of CO2 lasers for remote/scanner laser welding because they are more amenable to robot and fiber delivery. Such lasers also have advantages in easier operation, higher productivity and cost reduction. On the other hand, there are merits in welding with laser-arc hybrid heat sources and SHG pulsed YAG lasers, or short wavelength lasers to sustain interest in them. There is no one laser suitable for all tasks available at present. So any laser should be selected on the basis of a good understanding of its performance and applications.

Complicated laser welding phenomena and the mechanisms of the formation of imperfections in laser welding have been clarified in conjunction with the development of observing and measuring instruments. Interpretation of results will progress quickly by utilizing simulation techniques for welding phenomena using data on the physical constants of materials which are becoming increasingly accurate. Remaining problems will be resolved gradually.

For these reasons, laser welding is increasingly applied to bond or join many similar and dissimilar materials. In some cases there is increasing necessity for in-process monitoring and adaptive control. Laser systems are still extremely expensive in comparison with arc heat sources, which necessitates the further development of the laser welding system in every field.

There is an increasing necessity for research projects of worldwide scale. Here many experts in the field of lasers, materials, instruments, products, and applications, gathering as representatives for several companies, will collaborate. Experiments and research projects performed by only a few workers in one group or company are inefficient; the development of intelligent laser systems with high performance demands much time and money. Advances in lasers and laser welding processes depend upon personnel and project budgets.

Laser welding technology is being intensively investigated together with the development of new lasers of higher beam quality under small or large projects worldwide, especially in Germany. Much fruitful research and its industrial applications are published or announced in journals and international conferences each year. The trend of development in lasers and welding processes with lasers or hybrid heat sources will continue in each industrial field as long as laser and hybrid welding are recognized as high technology. In future, every research and development activity of laser welding should be performed from the viewpoint of environmental protection and safeguards.

6.4 References

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New developments in advanced welding

Environmental issues

10.4.1 Introduction The last 30 or more years have seen a significant awakening of interest in the environment and a much greater understanding of how human activities in one geographical …

Recent and ongoing research

10.3.1 Fundamental difficulties Despite the labour figures indicating that around 400000 people in the USA are directly engaged in welding, it is difficult to research health effects and make positive …

Occupational health and safety

F. J. BLUNT, University of Cambridge, UK 10.1 Introduction The welding industry is a major player in manufacturing. It encompasses the traditional arc and gas processes as well as advanced …

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