Industrial Applications of High-Power CO2 Lasers, Power Range 1–5 kW
The laser as a cutting tool for sheet metal cutting has been well accepted in industry for many years. Several hundreds of units are used for contour cutting of small and medium-sized series on plane metal sheets up to 6 mm thick. Within the last three years, cutting systems have been expanded in three ways. Thicker materials up to 12 mm can now be cut by using higher powered lasers (1500 W); with the introduction of flying optics systems which cover sheet dimensions up to 4 m x 3 m, the cutting of larger sized metal sheets is possible. In addition, the use of five or six axis systems allows cutting of three-dimensional plastic and metal material. Besides laser cutting, the acceptance of systems for laser welding applications is increasing. Several systems have been running in production for a couple of years and laser welding will probably become the fastest growing market in laser material processing within the next five years. The laser technology is regarded as a beneficial tool for welding, whenever low heat input and, consequently, low heat distortion is requested. To day’s main welding application areas are: components of car engines and transmissions, window spacers and stainless steel tube welding, and also car body welding with laser robots or five axis gantry type systems. The output power of CO2 lasers for welding applications is between 1 and 5 kW in most cases.
KeywordsWelding Speed Laser Welding Spot Welding Resonator Optic Laser Material Processing
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