As the name suggests, laser welding uses a laser beam to melt the plastic — keeping it below the evaporation temperature. Pressure is then applied to weld the two pieces together. It’s an extremely fast process and has a variety of options to choose from: contour, simultaneous, and hybrid.
Contour laser welding is similar to traditional welding; the laser makes a single pass over the joint. During this pass, the plastic softens, melts, and fuses together. Because it’s limited to heating one single point along the weld line, it takes longer than some other methods.
Simultaneous laser welding heats the entire joint at the same time, making it faster than contour laser welding. It often makes use of multiple lasers to speed up the process.
Hybrid laser welding is similar to contour welding. It adds a high-powered halogen lamp to help the laser make a faster, more efficient cycle. The heat from the lamp helps improve laser travel speed and helps alleviate stress on the material. This process is typically used for large, free-form parts.
Overall, laser welding allows for high-quality welds and fast throughput. However, it requires extremely tight tolerance parts to execute a great weld. Because the spot size after laser focusing is small and the weld is narrow, it’s susceptible to welding defects when the workpiece assembly or beam positioning is off.
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