In conventional GMAW, the electric arc naturally follows the path of least resistance between the electrode and the base material. The arc is difficult to control, and under certain conditions (e.g. welding materials of different thicknesses) good welding seams are almost impossible. When the laser beam is "added" to the gas metal-arc welding process, the arc follows the laser beam path, and is stabilized. Not only is the quality of the welding seam greatly improved, but welding speeds can be increased up to 100 % for the same welding depth. Also, oscillating seams or seams with a complex geometry are easy when using laser beam stabilization. The new welding process can be used for conventional steels as well as for high and higher strength steels, or for aluminium materials.
Since the laser used for this welding method has a relatively low output power (200 to 400 watts), investment cost are also kept at a minimum, making this process especially attractive for small and middle-sized welding companies.
The laser-stabilized GMA-welding process is a result of the "FÜLAS" project, which was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and supported by the Project Management Agency Karlsruhe (PTKA).
The economic use of this innovative welding process has already been verified by two industrial partners. The LZH carries out feasibility tests for various materials. Also, support for process integration can be offered.
Source: Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V., firstname.lastname@example.org