Fully Automated Precision Micro-Welding with Pulsed Lasers

Technology Overview

Welding may often be perceived as a simple manufacturing process but is in fact very complex with many factors affecting quality of the welded joints. Poor welding quality is usually the technology bottleneck during development of new products. Arc welding is the most widely used welding process, but it is not suitable for welding of special alloys, dissimilar materials, or small components requiring high precision. Laser welding offers many advantages, but it is not safe to operate laser manually and it is a challenge to optimize the laser welding parameters. We have succeeded in integrating newly developed pulse lasers with robots and vision system for fully automated welding and inspection. The technology offer includes (1) a fully automated machine for precision micro-welding; and (2) welding procedures and know-how on welding of a wide range of engineering materials, including stainless steels, Inconel, Hastelloy, copper alloys, and aluminium alloys. We also offer know-how to qualify the laser welding procedures according to applicable industrial standards.

Technology Features & Specifications

The major innovation lies in

  1. systematic integration of laser with a robot and vision system for fully automated welding and inspection;
  2. use of advanced pulse lasers for welding to ensure minimum heat input (thus minimum distortion or thermal damage to the materials);
  3. integration of the new tool with know-how on weldability of engineering materials to make it possible to weld previously non-weldable materials (especially for welding of dissimilar materials).

The technology has been shown to comply with some aerospace standards and company specifications.

Potential Applications

The technology is suitable for welding of small components especially when high precision is required. The primary application areas are:

  • Aerospace manufacturing and remanufacturing
  • Medical devices
  • EV battery
  • Sensors
  • Flexible electronics

The global welding products market size was estimated at USD 11.82 billion in 2015 and is expected to witness significant growth (Grand View Research, Inc., USA). The compound annual growth rate for laser welding machine is estimated to be 5.37% during the period 2017-2021 (Research and Markets, Dublin).

Customer Benefits

  1. The welding machine makes it possible to weld previously non-weldable materials and thus enables development of new technology (e.g., new sensors and micro-devices requiring joining of dissimilar materials).
  2. The technology improves not only quality of the welded products but also their aesthetics.
  3. Use of the fully automated machines leads to significant cost saving through achieving higher productivity and getting rid of the need to employ increasingly expensive skilled welders.

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