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Hand-held laser welding’s time has come in metal fabrication

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Hand-held laser welding’s time has come in metal fabrication

For years, manufacturers across the industry have used traditional welding techniques like MIG or TIG. But along the way, these traditional techniques have created constraints.

TIG welding, for example, is a time-consuming, two-handed welding method that requires an experienced, highly skilled operator. It generates extreme heat that deforms thin materials, has difficulty welding copper, and is limited when welding metals of different thicknesses.


Meanwhile, MIG welding requires a consumable wire, material precleaning, and beveled joints for full-penetration welds on thick materials. Travel and work angles are limited, and vertical positions can be challenging.


With the industry constantly changing, manufacturers are looking for new ways to stay competitive. They’ve come to realize this requires cost reductions, efficiency gains, and repeatable part quality. There’s also a new challenge: enabling new welders to be productive in a timely manner without sacrificing quality. The American Welding Society indicates the U.S. will have a deficit of 375,000 skilled welders by 2023.


This is why more manufacturers are switching to newer welding methods, such as hand-held laser welding, which can increase welding speeds up to four times faster than MIG and TIG welding, to improve productivity and precision.


handheld laser welding


What Are the Benefits of Laser Welding?

Laser technology improvements have made laser welding an increasingly popular technique in industries where high weld strength and repeatable weld quality are important. The quality and brilliance of fiber laser light precisely controls material heat input, which allows for welding thin materials. Lasers are not limited just to steels; they also can weld aluminum and copper. Even bimetallic welding is a practical reality.


Laser welding also can be automated for high-productivity, high-yield manufacturing. Its high-precision accuracy allows for joining small parts with low heat input and minimal distortion.


The Welds Look Great, But Are They Strong?

Hand-held laser welding yields superior aesthetics, but are looks too good to be true?Butt joints in plates of 0.036 in., 0.075 in., and 0.120 in. were produced, and inspected at 50 times the magnification.In all cases, no cracking, incomplete fusion, porosity, inclusions, or other defects were noted.


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Is Hand-held Laser Welding Right for Me?

Manual laser welding enables fast welding; is easy to learn and operate; and provides high-quality, consistent results across a wider range of materials and thicknesses with minimal distortion, deformation, undercut, or burn-through. It provides complete penetration and minimizes welding defects, such as cracks or incomplete fusion.


If you’re looking to reduce your costs, improve weld quality, and simplify the weld process, hand-held laser welding will give you the best path to both success and improved profitability.

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