Laser welding is a welding method that is majorly applied in the production of automotive bodies. The history of laser welding is short compared to resistance spot welding and arc welding, supporting the extension of high power CO2 lasers in the 1990’s, laser welding became popular and widely applied to the welding procedure of tailored blanks. Eventually, the makers started marketing high power Nd lasers that enable the transmission of the laser beam through an optical fiber. Three-dimensional welding technologies that are robotic were developed and appealed to automotive white body assembly instead of resistance spot welding. However, for numerous reasons like high cost of the laser equipment, the requirement of strict joint accuracy, etc., the technology was utilized in a limited range of applications.
Recently, people have widely started adopting fiber lasers and disc lasers. Since these devices allow the beam transmission by the optical fiber in the similar pattern as the lasers with high-power and have excellent concentrating properties. This kind of lasers has allured new attention to the application of laser welding in the body-in-white assembly. An application of remote laser welding that is recognized by a laser that has a high focusing property and continues to expand as a welding technique that can efficiently reduce the welding time and maintains the cost merits despite the high cost of an equipment of laser. Day-by-day stell sheets of greater strength are being greatly adopted in the auto body parts that are aiming to reduce the auto body weight, hiking the need of a changeover from the spot welding using resistance spot welding to continue the welding by laser welding or hybrid welding with the aim to satisfy both auto body weight minimization and the requirements of strength and rigidity. Remote laser welding is one of the major application of the laser welding technologies.
Future Automotive Laser Welding Applications
Since it is predicted that the automotive lasers welding applications will expand, whereas in some cases at a general rate there are many other factors and materials that will grow from the advantages of the laser welding.
We are listing out some topics below which are assumed to make an industrial impact in future
• Hydroformed tubes or extrusion from pressed components
• Production of the designed hydroformed tubes or various other stiffened structures that have welded sheet
• Welding of the components of magnesium alloy
• Production of node structures in the aluminum alloy castings/extrusions
The application of laser in the manufacturing of the different components includes engine parts, transmission parts, fuel injectors and filters and also all the air conditioning equipment. In the production of industrial flow, the benefits of the laser welding process have been framed compared to the other alternatives like electron beam welding. This is majorly due to the high-productivity and a tiny amount of downtime in comparison to the vacuum-based system and the decreased manufacturing costs. However, it demands to spend a great amount of time and efforts on the preparation of components and the top-notch precision of the component handling and it also requires the beam transmission.
We can say that laser has come of age for the automotive industry. The main benefits we can gain through the use of a laser welding are, access that is single sided, the involvement of low distortion and the money saved by eliminating other manufacturing operations.
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