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While laser welding has been used for decades in high volume manufacturing applications such as automotive welding, it has only recently become an affordable alternative to handheld MIG and TIG welding in fabrication industries. IPG Photonics LightWELD systems deliver the energy from a lightweight, air-cooled solid-state laser through an optical fiber coupled to the welding head.
The welding head then focuses the energy to a tightly defined spot that melts the base metal and creates the weld pool. The operator then guides the welding head along the joint to create the weld. The result is fast processing speeds with little thermal input into the bulk material. Part distortion is reduced and a superior surface finish is produced, reducing the need for post processing. With laser power up to 1500 watts, LightWELD systems are capable of welding materials up to ¼” thick (6.35mm).
When compared to MIG and TIG welding, LightWELD can weld up to 4X faster, giving fabricators a significant competitive advantage on project schedules and labor estimates. Simple to setup and easy to learn, even inexperienced welders can weld quickly and produce excellent results in a variety of materials including steels, copper, and aluminum.
No laser expertise is needed to get started with LightWELD. Pre-set welding parameters for common materials make changes on the shop floor quick and easy. Optics in the weld head can “wobble” the beam up to 5 mm to create a wider weld joint while stabilizing the melt pool for excellent surface finish. Optional wire feeding provides flexibility for joints with imperfect part fit up. In the case of the LightWELD XC and LightWELD XR, an additional cleaning function is available, offering non-contact pre-weld surface preparation and post weld cleaning.
In summary, adoption of handheld laser welding is transforming the HVAC industry by enabling organizations to leverage unique competitive advantages. Speed allows parts to be produced quickly while application flexibility supports a broad product mix. Cost savings in labor allow for competitive pricing while superior weld quality enables the creation of superior products.
Visit IPG Photonics at booth #605 at the SMACNA Product Show this October to learn more about LightWELD.
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IPG Photonics is the inventor and world’s leading producer of high-power fiber lasers, which enable greater precision, higher speed processing, more flexible production methods and enhanced productivity. IPG Photonics offers products ranging from fiber laser sources to turnkey laser processing systems and their products and process technology can be found in numerous applications and industries across the globe, including commercial HVAC and sheet metal fabrication.