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Key criteria for choosing

a laser manufacturer
can be established by a
single attribute.

Unwilling to settle for anything less than the duces world-class lasers and automated systems to
optimal fiber laser source, AMADA became the first meet the distinct needs of North American fabricators.
manufacturer to develop its own fiber laser specifically As the global leader in the engineering and
engineered for cutting. From its state-of-the-art Laser manufacturing of advanced metalworking equipment
Manufacturing Facility in Brea, CA, AMADA also pro- and automated systems, no other company is better
equipped to provide you with the ideal laser cutting
solution for your specific needs. If compromise is not
Fiber Laser Cutting Systems an option for you, contact AMADA today to resolve the
CO2 Laser Cutting Systems challenges you face.
Full Range from 2kW - 9kW
Punch/Fiber Laser Combinations
Punch/CO2 Laser Combinations
Rotary Index Systems with both Flat and
Tube Cutting Capabilities
Modular Automation Systems that easily
transition from a single cycle loader to a 180 Amada Court Schaumburg, IL 60173 877-262-3287
multi-shelf tower system that supports www.amada.com/america
multiple lasers

AmaAmeREV_ILSdec_1701 1 12/21/16 5:25 PM

M A R C H / A P R I L 2 017 W W W. I N D U S T R I A L - L A S E R S . C O M

Dicing brittle

3D printing for Flexible beam

watch parts Brazing galvanized
Thick metals
Metal to plastic
Challenging metals

1703ILS_C1 1 2/28/17 1:05 PM

1703ILS_C2 2 2/28/17 8:47 AM
V O L 3 2 I N O . 2

A P R I L 2 0 17

The InnoVision2
timepiece features
a 3D-printed glass

Features minute hand. (Photo

credit: Ulysse Nardin/

9 application report

Laser joining metal to plastic:
Fact or fiction?
Non-contact method offers high process
flexibility GEERT VERHAEGHE, ROLF BECKSCHWARTE, 22 application report

AND SREENIVAS PARUCHURI Micromachining applications

for short- and ultrashort-
12 technology report
pulsed lasers
Fiber laser welding technique
Laser technology allows for flexible
joins challenging metals beam profiles to serve many
Method works with single-mode and micromachining utilities KEMING DU,

25 technology report
16 technology report
Novel laser method
Laser joining method can process
separates brittle materials
thick steel One-step process separates without
Multi-layer welding technique works with causing defects MANDY GEBHARDT
standard equipment JAN FROSTEVARG AND

19 technology report
Triple-spot laser brazing joins 2 Update
galvanized sheets
27 Calendar
Welding process reduces seam errors
significantly A XEL LUFT 27 Ad Index

28 My View

Microprocessing sets
the tone for 2017
W W W. I N D U S T R I A L- L A S E R S . C O M

David shares his insights and opinions on current
activities affecting industrial laser materials processing.

1703ILS_1 1 2/28/17 8:44 AM

3D printing enables a revolution in
timepiece design
LUGANO, SWITZERLAND We know that glass has unique
capabilities: it is transparent, corrosion-resistant, ther-
mally stable, electrically insulating, scratch- and abra-
sion-resistant, elastic, and biocompatible. But who
imagined using glass that combines all these prop-
erties with its tribological behavior to make complete
three-dimensional watch mechanisms, inte-
grating precision, aesthetics, and multi-func-
tionalities? Probably none before FEMTO-
PRINTs 3D printing era.
Ten years after the first InnoVision time-
piece, Swiss watch manufacturer Ulysse Nar-
din presented a second version at the Geneva
Watch Exhibition last January (SIHH 2017). FIGURE 1. The InnoVision2
The InnoVision2 is an exceptional timepiece timepiece features a
that is pushing innovation boundaries. Ulysse 3D-printed glass minute
Nardin chose FEMTOprint and its versatile hand (detail shown in inset).
laser platform to design, shape, and create (Photo credit: Ulysse Nardin/
real sculptures as well as multi-functional components ing-edge markets like FEMTOprint)
out of glass for this watch. the watch industry.
FEMTOprint SAs innovative 3D printing platform is InnoVision2 is an example of how progressive atti-
able to produce challenging, monolithic 3D shapes at tudes and advanced laser technologies can work
sub-micron resolution with high precision, repeatabil- together to create an innovative product, on which cre-
ity, and optical surface quality, thanks to its versatil- ativity pictured a fine 3D-printed transparent minute
ity and the inexpensive configuration. This technology hand (FIGURE 1), a monolithic component with integrated
is an affordable and transformative solution to lead- balance shock protection, micro-channels for a distinct
illumination, and their own brand engraved in the bulk.
At the same time, accuracy on the critical dimensions,
material properties, and surface quality were key.
The InnoVision2 watch features unique 3D glass sculp-
turesnothing like anything seen before. Each compo-
nent of this timepiece boasts an innovation, and the
FEMTOPRINT platform allowed conceiving the new trans-
parent functional components,
which are precise and show an
amazing combination in a mono-
lilith of fluidics, mechanics, and low
friction between moving parts,
high surface quality, and beauty.
The integration of these new func-
tionalities makes this watch a rev-
olution in horology.
FIGURE 2. Detail of the glass bridge (inset) Among the 10 innovations
with integrated balance shock protection. brought to this timepiece, a new
(Photo credit: Ulysse Nardin) concept of light and the use of

2 Industrial Laser Solutions MARCH/APRIL 2017 www.industrial-lasers.com

1703ILS_2 2 2/28/17 8:44 AM

glass emerge. The watch is not as fragile as you would think. Additive manufacturing increases
Actually, its revolutionary balance wheel bridge even integrates
a formulated shock resistance system, produced in one single
yacht racing performance
piece without masks, ablation, assembling, or other traditional WEST DUNDEE, IL Land Rover Ben Ainsile Racing (BAR) is no
manufacturing processes (FIGURE 2). stranger to cutting-edge technologies. The British yacht racing team
Also, thanks to the channels produced in the glass balance uses additive manufacturing (3D printing) to gain competitive advan-
wheel bridge (also in a monolith) with the FEMTOPRINT plat- tages. The technology has been incorporated into daily use at Land
form, Ulysse Nardin was able to introduce light, filling them with Rover BAR by the teams Technical Innovation Group (TIG). Ren-
photoluminescent pigments. The light sharpens the brand let- ishaw, a manufacturer of metal additive manufacturing machines, is
ters, which are 3D printed in the glass and consist of changes
in density and refractive index.
FIGURE 1. Additively
Another innovation refers to the watch minute hand, which
manufactured parts
is sculpted in glass using the laser platform. The intricacy that
are being used on the
can be achieved in the manufacturing process is in the 13m
Land Rover BAR yacht.
range, with high aspect ratio (more than 1:500, depending on
the material) and accuracy on the trajectory of 1m, freedom
in the 3D shape, and low roughness, ensuring the creation of
challenging 3D micro-devices. The delicate glass hand is able
to bear extreme shocks. As mentioned, glass is not only trans-
parent, stable, and dielectric, but also resistant and flexible. Fur-
thermore, the spectacular hand is placed on thin metal backing.
This successful experience confirms that innovation is just
a matter of creativity.
This story was submitted by nicoletta.casanova@femtoprint.ch.

1703ILS_3 3 2/28/17 8:44 AM

printing because there was no load involved and a single item was
required. In the past, this would have been built in carbon fiber to
the finish specs and standards of a piece of custom furniture, and
would have been very expensive because of the time and skill of
those involved. Once the design has been developed, it can be pro-
duced by laser additive manufacturing in a handful of hours and at
a much lower cost.
The Land Rover BAR team manufactures custom components
from thin layers of fine metallic powder. One of the earliest compo-
nents was a custom sheave case for the pulley in the daggerboard
lift line that needed good resistance to wear, so metal was the ideal
choice. To keep weight down, the final design was hollowso addi-
tive manufacturing eliminates the difficulty present in other methods
to be able to produce this part.
They also looked at their hydraulics system. The shapes created
FIGURE 2. Metal 3D-printed hydraulic system parts made by
conventionally are limited, so the design and the flow are as well,
Renishaw for the Land Rover BAR yacht.
as there is a loss of power when hydraulic fluid goes around hard
a TIG partner. The partnership has allowed the teams engineers to corners. This might be the only way to manufacture the part with
design and test precision custom parts quickly and cost-effectively traditional techniquesbut additive manufacturing can build it with
in the shop, and gives their yacht an edge on the water (FIGURE 1). smooth, rounded corners to significantly improve efficiency in the
We use 3D printing at three different levels, says George Sykes fluid transfers involved (FIGURE 2).
of PA Consulting, who is the TIG project manager. The simplest level In addition, parts can be built more lightly as material is added
is as a prototyping and visualization tool. We manufacture a large specifically where it is needed. In the past, the geometry of man-
number of custom parts and 3D printing allows us to make full-size ufacture on a lathe or other cutting tool meant that some mate-
prototypes in-house before we commit to a design. rial couldnt be removed, so excess weight was carried around.
The prototyping process is really useful when we are trying to Renishaw says that weight in a new AM manifold design was
develop a new idea, says Andy Claughton, Land Rover BARs CTO. reduced by 60%, with an increase in performance efficiency of
It allows us to get our hands on it, put it in place on the boat, or link it better than 20%.
up with other parts of the system, and see potential issues and refine Our involvement with Land Rover BAR is also helping to raise
the design before we commit to the production of the final piece. the bar in additive manufacturing, says David Ewing, product mar-
The team has its own fully equipped traditional machine shop, keting engineer at Renishaws Additive Manufacturing Products Divi-
as well as an extensive additive shop facility. Between them, sion. Its a complex manufacturing option and there are consider-
these facilities can make almost anythingif the final part can be ations both in component design and process expertise. The best
3D-printed, then they use that option because typically the cost applications are ones which use the minimum amount of material to
can be significantly reduced. achieve the design requirements, offer a functional benefit in service,
For example, the end cap for the boats bowsprita com- and have been designed with the manufacturing method in mind.
plex shape designed to reduce aerodynamic dragis ideal for 3D Our work on hydraulic parts for the team is a perfect example.

Fiber laser supplants CO2 for metal cutting

COVENTRY, WARWICKSHIRE, ENGLAND As verification that fiber laser
technology has taken over for CO2 laser power for cutting sheet metal
and plate, David Larcombe, managing director of Bystronic UK, explains
that since August 2015, the company has not sold a CO2 laser cutting
machine in Britain or Ireland.
In contrast, fiber laser cutters have sold well (FIGURE). In November and
December 2016 alone, the company took orders for 14 of them, half of
which were for high-power models launched at the EuroBLECH show in
Hannover, Germany, at the end of October. Two of the seven high-power
machines were 8kW, with the remainder equipped with a 10kW fiber
laser sourcethe most powerful currently available on the UK market.
Of the seven lower-power fiber laser machines we sold during the last Every laser cutting machine sold by Bystronic UK in the past
two months of 2016, five were 6kW while the other two were rated at 4kW year and a half was equipped with a fiber rather than a CO2
and 2kW, Larcombe says. There is still a demand for the latter, com- power source.

4 Industrial Laser Solutions MARCH/APRIL 2017 www.industrial-lasers.com

1703ILS_4 4 2/28/17 8:44 AM

petitively priced fiber models from manu- GF Machining Solutions, Sensofar Metrology
facturers processing only thinner-gauge
partner on advanced micromachining methods
Larcombe thinks that higher-power SATIGNY, SWITZERLAND AND BARCELONA, tions adoption of ultrafast laser technology for
fiber laser machines are the future, as SPAIN GF Machining Solutions and Sen- micromachining (FIGURE). The new metrology
they cut thicker plate and produce supe- sofar Metrology have entered into a strate- systems are needed to reverse-engineer nat-
rior-quality edges. The 10kW fiber source gic partnership in which Sensofar Metrology ural surface textures down to the nano-fea-
is able to process 25mm mild steel and will supply GF Machining Solutions with cus- ture level and to chart the production process,
30mm stainless steel and aluminum. tom S line (S neox) surface metrology sys- from the micromachining of the mold to the
Fiber also allows reflective materials to tems to be used for developing advanced degree of replication achieved in the molding
be cut safely. The same source can han- nanotexturing methods.
dle 15mm brass and 12mm copper, for- These methods use ultrafast
merly processed by water-jet or plasma laser, electrical discharge
cutting machines. machining (EDM), and/or
According to Larcombe, the 10kW other micro- and nanoman-
source can cut mid-range thickness mate- ufacturing technologies for
rials much faster. For example, mild and producing technical sur-
stainless steels in the 3 to 6mm range can faces that exhibit precise
be profiled 2.5 to 3 times faster than with a functional characteristics,
6kW fiber laser, providing a massive boost or that meet specific aes-
to productivity. thetic requirements.
For more information, please visit www. The move to the Sen-
bystronic.com or contact David Larcombe sofar S line platform in part A carbon matting surface replicated using an ultrafast laser
at david.larcombe@bystronic.com. follows GF Machining Solu- system.

Eliminate Scanner Stitching Errors Aerotechs Infinite Field of View (IFOV)

technology seamlessly combines servo
with Aerotechs IFOV Technology and scanner motion to extend the marking
capability of the scanner across the entire
travel of the servo stages, eliminating
stitching errors that can occur in a more
traditional move-expose-repeat process.
Programming made easy IFOV
Nmark AGV-HP automatically partitions motion
Galvo Scanner between scanner and servo
axes, allowing a straightforward,
2-dimensional programming experience
Simply declare the galvo field of
view and servo stage velocity and
acceleration to optimize IFOV operation
Automate IFOV configuration, as well as
other laser and process details, using
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High-Density Laser post-processing software
Marking Pattern,
Highlighting IFOV Path-
Planning Optimization Contact Aerotech today for a
Two-Axis PRO165LM demonstration of how IFOV can
Mechanical-Bearing Direct- improve your process.
Drive Linear Stage

Ph:412-963-7470 Email:sales@aerotech.com www.aerotech.com

Dedicated to the

www.industrial-lasers.com MARCH/APRIL 2017 Industrial Laser Solutions 5

1703ILS_5 5 2/28/17 8:44 AM

process of artificial surfaces manufactured will tie in to the 3D surface texture param- Laser cutter speeds
with these textures and other features. eters defined within the ISO 25178 norm,
The partnership supersedes a previous a standard feature of Sensofars metrology
up production of
and similar agreement with a supplier of systems. The S neox systems associated parts for race cars
focus variation (FV) 3D metrology systems. with this agreement further include custom GARFORTH, LEEDS, WEST YORKSHIRE and
FV is a well-regarded technique where suf- hardware and software changes. MALTON, NORTH YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND
ficient surface roughness and structure are To demonstrate the capabilities of the Racing- and sports-car builder Ginetta is
present. Nonetheless, for achieving higher metrology systems to potential customers working with full-service sheet metalwork
precision acquisition, and for the more of both companies, GF Machining Solutions manufacturer Malton Laser, a partnership in
advanced surface texturing approaches and Sensofar have agreed to co-exhibit at which Malton Laser will supply Ginetta with
currently under development, a more ver- a suite of key trade events and workshops laser-cut custom components that form part
satile metrology tool is essential. in automotive, optical, medical, microma- of its G40 and G55 sports cars.
Sensofars S neox, the system platform chining, semiconductor, and various other
at the core of the partnership, provides con- industry sectors. Any GF-qualified Senso-
focal, interferometry, and FV measurement far systems sold as a result of the strategic
techniques in a single sensor head, allowing partnership will be delivered and supported
exploration of new micro- and nanotexturing through Sensofars existing global network
approaches across more diverse scales and of distribution and service channels.
structures. For consistency, reproducibility, For more information, please visit www.
Ginettas G55 GT4 race car.
and benchmarking, measurement reports gfms.com and www.sensofar.com.
Founded in 1958, Ginettas hand-built
road and race cars are produced in a 75,000-
ICA Sweden uses laser sq-ft. factory just outside of Leeds. With

to mark produce many components hand-crafted on site,

Ginetta the company engineering and man-
SOLNA, SWEDEN Grocery retailer ICA ufacturing talent to bring to life the Ginetta
Sweden (part of ICA Gruppen AB) has G40, Ginetta G55, and Ginetta G57 cars.
begun testing a new method for mark- As a preferred supplier to Ginetta, Malton
ing fruits and vegetables. Instead of Laser was selected to produce more than
using stickers or packaging products in 900 laser-cut plates to form part of the struc-
trays and cellophane wrap, the products ture of its G55 GT4 (FIGURE) and G55 GT3
are marked directly on their skin using a race cars, which compete throughout the
laser. The method is more sustainable and summer months in various championships.
results in better traceability. Malton also created kits of parts to assist
ICA is testing this marking method on the vehicles revised suspension systems, all
organic avocados and sweet potatoes assembled by their expert fabrication team.
(FIGURE). The new sustainability marking is Ginetta started working with Malton
done directly on the skin using a laser beam Laser in 2007 and regularly tasks the met-
that changes the pigment on the skin, so alwork specialist with manufacturing a
that the products name, country of origin, Grocery retailer ICA Sweden has tested a range of parts for its race cars, the major-
and PLU code are seen clearly. With this laser marking method on organic sweet ity of which are laser-cut using a Bystronic
method, the marking follows the fruit or veg- potatoes. ByStar 3015 6kW fiber laser machine that is
etable through the entire supply chain in a up to three times faster than a standard CO2
secure manner. our avocados in this way. The total effect is laser cutting system, without compromising
Its great that we can now use new tech- substantial. on the quality of the finished product.
nology to get better marking from an envi- Using a laser, only the pigment in We have a long-standing relationship
ronmental perspective, says Peter Hgg, the outer skin of the fruit or vegetable is with Ginetta and have worked on numer-
Head of the Fruit and Vegetables product changed. The method leaves no trace on ous projects over the years to meet with its
range at ICA Sweden. This way, organic the product itself. This marking method is metalwork requirements, says Charles Cor-
products do not need to be kept separate already used by other grocery store chains ner, managing director of Malton Laser. As
from others. Since the marking is on each in Europe, such as Carrefour. The machine a racing enthusiast myself, working on the
item, there is no need for stickers, trays, or is located in a packing house in The Nether- projects for Ginetta allows me to combine
cellophane wrap around the product. We lands, where the marking takes place. work with my favorite hobby, which is great.
estimate that we will save more than 200km For more information, please visit www. For more information, please visit www.
of cellophane wrap per year just by marking icagruppen.se. ginetta.com and www.maltonlaser.com.

6 Industrial Laser Solutions MARCH/APRIL 2017 www.industrial-lasers.com

1703ILS_6 6 2/28/17 8:44 AM

Blackbird Robotics Blackbirds
opens laser application new facility
lab in China in Shanghai.
GARCHING, GERMANY Blackbird Roboter-

systeme, which offers system solutions for

remote laser welding, continues its robust
growth in Asian markets. The company
recently dedicated and moved into a new
facility in Shanghai, China (FIGURE), which
features a laser laboratory for providing
user training and customer-specific appli-
cation support.
In 2015, Blackbird Robotics (Shang-
hai) Co., Ltd. commenced operations as a
sales and service center. Two years later,
first results are very positive and will be for-
tified further by the move to much larger In recent months, system integrators and dynamically track seams and contours.
offices. Keys to success are a growing and other industrial customers have shown The companys system solutions also pro-
demand for remote laser welding solutions considerable interest for 3D laser welding vide customized control interfaces for all
across various industrial sectors. The Chi- solutions. Systems that offer scan heads robot systems, such as KUKA, ABB, Fanuc,
nese sites new, thoroughly equipped laser and control units are unique in offering Yasakawa, and Comau.
application laboratory provides space for high-powered, on-the-fly operation, as well For more information, please visit www.
four laser cells. as optional abilities to vary laser spot size blackbird-robotics.de.

The 1st of its kind Additive Manufacturing

Insure Laser Performance
and Stability
When knowing your
process is a must

BeamCheck measures

Focal spot size at the build plane

Laser power at the build plane
The First 3D-Printed Aircraft Airbus
debuted Thor in June 2016, Laser power density at the build plane
a mini-plane which is the first of Changes in spot size & power density over time
its kind to fly successfully.
Call for an on-site measurement of your lasers performance
How much does Thor weigh?

46 pounds.

1703ILS_7 7 2/28/17 8:44 AM

1703ILS_8 8 2/28/17 11:18 AM
a p p l i c a t i o n r e p o r t

Laser joining
metal to plastic:
Fact or fiction?



ne of the key drivers in the auto-
motive industry remains how to
manufacture lighter cars with-
out adding cost or penalizing
on performance, quality, and
safety. While for seat structures,
this has translated mainly into
the use of thinner, higher-strength steels up to nowhybrid
material structures have also been studied widely in recent
years. This is the case for both metal-only hybrid structures
and for structures where metal components are complemented
with plastics/composites.
Use of these hybrid-material structures brings
many different challenges, not in the least how the
different materials are joined together because of
the differences in chemical, mechanical, and ther-
mal properties of the constituent materials. The
most conventional technologies currently used for
joining plastics to metals are adhesive bonding,
mechanical connections, over-molding, or com-
binations of these, which all involve a large num- 200m 50m
ber of assembly operations and/or impose design
Now, in an ever-growing number of indus-
trial applications, lasers are also proposed as an
alternative method for joining plastic/composite
directly to metals. The method eliminates the need
for additional liquid/solid adhesives or assem-
bly elements, and offers high process flexibility in

FIGURE 1. The detail of a structured surface (top) 500m 50m

completed with a continuous-wave laser (center row)
and a nanosecond pulsed laser (bottom row).

www.industrial-lasers.com MARCH/APRIL 2017 Industrial Laser Solutions 9

1703ILS_9 9 2/28/17 8:44 AM

a p p l i c a t i o n r e p o r t

contrast to mechanical joints and complex and expensive molds. For a plastic that is opaque to the laser wavelength, which is the
To assess the possibilities of this new laser-based technology, case for most automotive structural plastics/composites, heating
Faurecia Automotive Seating partnered in an EC-funded project has to be done from the metal side by conductively heating the
called PMjoin [1]. metal. When enough heat is generated in this way locally at the
interface, the plastic melts. In both cases, good temperature con-
Laser process steps trol is essential to avoid the plastic from overheating (resulting in
The direct non-contact laser method comprises two steps. First, pores) or burning.
a grooved microstructure is created on the metal surface by scan-
ning the laser over the area and locally ablating the material. The
grooves can be as small as a few microns wide, while the depth Seat backrest
can be altered by scanning the laser multiple times over the same
area. FIGURE 1 shows two different groove geometries: the top one
was produced using a continuous-wave (CW) single-mode fiber
laser, showing irregular cross-sectional grooves with a small recast
Side-member Cross-member
structure on top, while the bottom one was produced with a nano-
second pulsed laser, showing regular groove shapes with a large
recast structure on top.
In the second step of the process, the plastic is placed in an
overlap configuration with the structured metal and heated to melt- Seat cushion
ing temperature. For a plastic that is transparent to the laser wave- Recliner
length, the laser beam can be applied from the plastic sidethe
laser energy is transmitted through the plastic onto the joint inter-
face, where the energy is absorbed by the metal. The metal heats
up and the low thermal conductivity of the plastic ensures a local
hot spot, melting the plastic.

Slide (track)

FIGURE 2. A generic automotive seat structure.

Although the conductive solution is not as energy-efficient, it is

as effective as the transmissive solution in creating a stable joint.
In this work, the conductive heating from the metal side was done
using a CW direct-diode laser. In both the conductive and trans-
missive approaches, pressure has to be applied to ensure the
heat is conducted efficiently into the plastic. Once the plastic has
reached melting temperature, it is forced to flow into the micro-
structure and, upon cooling, anchors itself into the metal structure,
creating a mechanical interlock.

Automotive seat design concept

As part of the PMjoin project, Faurecia designed a concept seat
backrest structure modeled on one of its generic steel seat struc-
tures (FIGURE 2), where the two high-strength steel side-members of
the backrest were replaced with PAGF30 composite counterparts.
The rest of the backrest, including the upper and lower cross-mem-
bers and the recliner assembly, as well as the cushion and tracks
structures, remained unchanged.
In the first part of the investigation, the influences of the micro-
structuring parameters on a joints mechanical performance were
investigated. For this purpose, a design-of-experiment set of trials
was carried out to produce simple coupons with various groove

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1703ILS_10 10 2/28/17 8:44 AM

patterns, which were then tested in ten- how failure in the structure unfolds, with
sile shear, pull, and peel. The parame- the dynamic impact test showing what
ters investigated included the number of happens in real life. While the latter only
repeat (laser) runs, the structure density gives a pass-or-fail report, the quasi-static
(pitch between grooves), the angle of the tests also return a quantitative resultthat
grooves relative to the material surface, is, at what torque or at what force the
the orientation of the groove structures structure fails.
in relation to the load direction, the laser The concept hybrid backrests failed at
type, and the laser power. For instance, a 60% of the force measured for the steel
shear strength value of 17N/mm2 could be counterparts in the (quasi-static) rear impact
achieved using a simple groove geometry, test and at close to 90% of the steel counter-
which was more than double that achieved part values in the (quasi-static) front impact
with a randomly roughened (sandblasted) test. Although positive as a first result, the
surface and four times that of a non-treated observed failure modes also demonstrate
(but clean) metal surface. that the designed concept remains too
As shown earlier, different groove geom- rigid. Because of budget constraints, exist-
etries were possible with the different ing steel and composite parts were used in
(structuring) lasers that were investigated. this project, with only the composite slightly
Both the irregularity of the groove shape modified to match the process. The poten-
and the size (and shape) of the recast layer tial of a more advanced design, where both
protruding the material surface contribute steel and composite components are rede-
to the anchoring of the plastic into the joint. signed to maximize their contribution to the
In the second step of the study, the results complete backrest structure performance,
from the small-scale trials were transferred remains to be explored. Irrespective of this,
onto the concept backrest structure. The the concept hybrid structures passed the
mechanical loading in each of the joining dynamic impact test.
pointsthat is, the connections between This concept study clearly shows the
the upper and lower steel cross-members potential of using lasers to join plas-
and the composite side-members, and tic directly to metal as an alternative to
between the steel recliner assembly and adhesive bonding, mechanical joining,
the composite side-memberswas deter- or over-molding. Based on the results,
mined through finite element (FE) analysis the technology can now be deployed for
of a representative steel structure. Based semi-structural hybrid assemblies.
on the results of the small-scale tests, However, there is still some way to
the joining area needed to transfer the go before using it in full-serial produc-
FE-calculated loads was determined in tion for structural hybrid assemblies. This
each of the joining points. will require at least another design itera-
As composite side-members from a pre- tion to maximize the potential of both the
vious research project were used, a small two materials and the process towards
redesign was then necessary in the join- the structures mechanical strength, as
ing points only to ensure enough joining well as an assessment of the impact on
area for the new laser-based technique. the performance of long-term variables,
New steel brackets were also designed such as humidity and temperature (material Over a Century Serving the Optical Industry
and manufactured to connect the exist- degradation and difference in linear ther-
ing recliner assemblies with the compos- mal expansion). Alternative technologies
ite side-members. In addition, suitable for the conductive heating could also be
positioning and clamping fixtures were considered.
designed and manufactured.
Testing results [1] See www.pmjoin.eu.
A small set of concept backrest structures
was produced using the parameters deter- DR. GEERT VERHAEGHE (geert.verhaeghe@faure-
cia.com) is master expert welding & joining, ROLF
mined in the small-scale trials, and sub-
BECKSCHWARTE is senior expert protection coat-
jected to quasi-static front- and rear-im- ings, and SREENIVAS PARUCHURI is senior expert
pact tests, as well as dynamic front-impact plastics and composite materials, all at Faurecia
tests. Both test types help to understand Autositze, Stadthagen, Germany; www.faurecia.com/en.

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t e c h n o l o g y r e p o r t

Fiber laser welding tech




he move towards adopting lighter and stronger materi-
als in everyday products, from automobiles to consumer
electronics, has led to a number of significant challenges
in welding these structures, especially in high-volume
production environments. Examples in the transporta-
tion industry include electric vehicle infrastructure, where
battery manufacturing often requires joining of dissimi-
lar highly reflective materials such as aluminum and copper.
Further adoption of high-strength steels, together with aluminum and magne-
sium composites for weight reduction in automobiles, is another related example.
FIGURE 2. Examples of 6061-T6 aluminum
In consumer electronics, the requirements for lightweight structures with highly
welds using the beam-wobble technique.
tailored thermal and electrical properties are constantly driving the need for more
complex designs, often using thin foils and requiring joining of dissimilar metals,
again with aluminum and copper being the heavily featured materials. The medi- discussed in this article. By enabling inde-
cal device industry is also driving the need for joining small metal parts, often with pendent control of penetration depth, spot
dissimilar materials. velocity, weld speed, and seam width, the
Growth of laser welding has been ongoing for over a decade, with the automo- technique has applications in welding
tive industryan early adopter of the technologybeing the first to see the bene- small, temperature-sensitive assemblies
fits of an automated joining process combined with the intrinsic advantages of fiber (for medical parts)poorly fitted parts that
laser technology. However, the challenges of laser welding many of the materials can be difficult to laser-weld and cosmeti-
described previously have remained significant and could explain the slow rate of cally attractive to weld without the need for
the adoption of laser weld- post-processing.
ing in some applications. Wobble Mode Schematic Sample Weld
Recently, the introduc- Wobble head technology
tion of a new, cost-effective, Circle Wobble FIGURE 1 demonstrates the con-
easy-to-integrate technol- (CW & CCW) cept of the 2D dynamic beam
Welding Seam
ogy, based on a beam wob- motion or wobble head tech-
bling technique, is helping Wobble nology, where the four basic
to overcome some of these Welding Seam programmable shapes avail-
difficulties in welding mate- able from an industry-standard
rials such as copper and Wobble welding head, such as the D30
aluminum with high-bright- Eight from IPG Photonics, are shown.
Welding Seam
ness fiber lasers at 1m. Independent control of the
This technique is helping to Wobble amplitude and frequency of the
overcome porosity and hot Infinity oscillation is achieved through
Welding Seam
cracking issues with laser the galvo-mirror controller,
welding of some materi- allowing more flexibility in sta-
als, while helping to make FIGURE 1. Examples of wobble shapes from commercially bilizing the keyhole melt during
part fit-up 3X more forgiv- available welding wobble heads, with independent adjustable the welding process, with typical
ing in some of the examples amplitude and frequency control up to 300Hz. frequencies up to 300Hz used in

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echnique joins challenging metals

most applications. Power handling of com- offset when utilizing the beam wobble
mercial wobble welding heads is now avail- technique, allowing a 23X increase in
able up 12kW. offset when compared with conventional
Stability of the keyhole melt is a criti- laser welding.
cal factor when laser welding difficult
high-reflectivity materials such as copper Example implementations
and aluminum. This is partly because of An example of the weld quality and con-
the tendency to spatter and, in the case sistency achieved with the wobble head
of some aluminum alloys, exhibit a high is shown in FIGURE 2 for welding of 6061-
level of porosity because of the viscos- T6 aluminum, a quality of finish that would
ity and surface tension of the melt, mak- not be possible with conventional laser
ing these materials a challenge to weld welding. It can eliminate post-processing
using more traditional laser welding tech- of the weld to achieve a cosmetic finish of
niques. Recent studies [1-4] have shown the final part.
the reduction or elimination of these prob- Upon further inspection, the reduction
lems with the beam wobble technique, of the porosity associated with the beam
including a recent systematic study both wobbling technique is evident (FIGURE 3),
with and without filler wire on automotive where the cross-section is compared with
aluminum alloys [2]. conventional laser welding on 6061 alu-
Overall, the wobble technique allows for minum, showing the absence of pores
better temperature management of the part when using the wobble-head welding
since the beam passes near any given point process. Similar improvements in poros-
of the weld multiple times. The ramp in tem- ity have been reported [2, 4] using the FIGURE 3. A comparison of the cross-
perature and cooling rates are slower than wobbling technique and attributed to the sections in laser welding of 6061
in traditional laser welding, which helps in mixing of the molten bath during the key- aluminum, showing the elimination of
eliminating defects and managing spatter. hole rotation, which occurs with the beam pores (bottom) when using the wobble-
In addition, this welding technique is com- wobble process. head welding process.
patible with typical welding accessories
such as assist gas ports and coaxial noz- Varying seam gap Varying seam offset
zles, which enable plume suppression and Laser Laser
0 Good weld
can help control spattertechniques that beam beam
are not readily compatible with the scan
x Unacceptable/
heads used in remote welding. Not welded Wobble Wobble
amplitude 1.7mm amplitude 1.7mm
In addition to stabilizing the keyhole
melt and reducing porosity in the subse- Workpiece Workpiece Workpiece Workpiece
Gap Offset
quent weld, the beam wobble technique
has proved valuable for alleviating the part
Gap (m) 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500
fit requirements for laser welding, as sum-
Conventional laser welding 0 0 x x x x x x x
marized in the TABLE. Using one of the pro- Laser welding with wobble 0 0 0 0 0 0 x
grammable shapes (infinity in this case) and
Offset (m) 0 50 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000
optimizing the amplitude and frequency of Conventional laser welding 0 0 0 0 x x x x x x x
the oscillation, an increase in the accept- Laser welding with wobble 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 x
able seam gap of 3X that achieved in con-
ventional laser welding is seen. TABLE. A summary of wobble head welding on the process window for seam gap and
A similar improvement in the process offset, where a factor of 23 increase in both process parameters can be achieved
window is also observed for the seam compared with conventional laser welding.

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t e c h n o l o g y r e p o r t

Amplitude Amplitude Amplitude

~0.1mm ~0.2mm ~0.3mm

250m 250

b) 250
P = 1kW v = 1m/min fwobble = 300Hz

Amplitude Amplitude Amplitude

~0.4mm ~0.5mm ~0.6mm


FIGURE 4. Welding of dissimilar metals 250

250m 250
250m 250
such as stainless steel and copper (a) is
enabled by the wobble-head technique to FIGURE 6. Weld cross-sections of copper using the wobble-head method and a single-
control the intermetallic region between mode fiber laser.
the two materials (b).

shown in the EDS-image of FIGURE 4b. In welding, where we are utilizing a small
Laser welding of dissimilar metals is this weld we used the circular wobble pat- spot and more-efficient keyhole in the
another difficult process area, where the tern shown in table 1. process. In our experience, the linear
wobble head technology has shown sig- speeds and total heat input (power from
nificant potential, such as welding stain- Wobble-head welding the laser) is often comparable to the tra-
less steel and copper (FIGURE 4a). Melting of copper ditional laser welding. Typically, at lower
and solidification of the intermetallic layer Some of the challenges associated with speeds, an unstable coupling of the laser
can be controlled with the wobble-head welding copper using lasers operat- and clear spatter ejection from the key-
technique to greatly improve weld qual- ing at 1m are well known and covered hole melt a result of the high reflectiv-
ity between the two dissimilar metals, as previously [1]. In that study, we utilized ity of copper and low viscosity and sur-
a single-mode face tension of the material. The trend at
~0.1mm ~0.2mm ~0.3mm ~0.4mm fiber laser and higher speeds is a stable weld enabled by
a small spot the high fluence and small spot size from
size to increase a single-mode fiber laser. However, this
the fluence at comes at an expense of a reduced pen-
the workpiece etration depth of the final weld.
and help stabi- The wobble-head technology is a use-
lize the keyhole ful tool to overcome these problems
1mm 1mm 1mm 1mm melt. This has (FIGURES 5 and 6). By employing the wob-
been studied ble-head amplitude function, the top bead
in some detail width can be systematically increased
in micro-weld- while the wobble frequency function is
~0.5mm ~0.6mm
ing of thin foils used to stabilize the keyhole. Results
Power: 1kW
[5], but is a fea- were obtained utilizing a similar-power sin-
Speed: 1m/min ture applicable gle-mode fiber laser and the linear weld
Frequency: 300Hz to wobble-head speed and laser power are maintained
throughout the range of parameters.
1mm 1mm FIGURE 5. Using a single-mode fiber laser The wobble-head technology is fully
with independent control of the wobble-head compatible with multimode fiber lasers,
amplitude and frequency control functions and in our tests [1] copper welds using
enables copper welds. a high-power (5kW) fiber laser operating

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1703ILS_14 14 2/28/17 8:44 AM

together with the wobble head were demonstrated . In the case
of the higher power levels, greater penetration depth is achieved
(up to 4mm, in this case) and, as in the previous study, the addi-
tional process flexibility associated with the wobble-head tech-
nology is used to control the keyhole and stabilize the melt during
the process.
Aluminum-to-copper overlap welding for the battery industry is
the final application reviewed in this article. In this case, the pen-
etration depth is a critical parameter to minimize the intermetallic
formation (ideally less than 10m), which can be controlled by the
speed of the process in traditional laser welding. However, in the
case of utilizing the wobble-head technique, we have the additional
control weld width and penetration through the amplitude and fre-
quency functions on the wobble head.

In our study, , we see the effect of an increase in wobble ampli-
tude (from 0.2 to 1.2mm). This is achieved by increasing the weld
width, minimizing the penetration depth, and subsequently improv-

ing the mechanical properties of the weld between the aluminum
and copper parts.

The difficulties associated with laser welding of materials such as
aluminum and copper using 1m lasers can largely be overcome
by using high-brightness fiber lasers together with the latest 2D
wobble-head technology for additional beam control of the key-
hole melt during the welding process. In turn, this is shown to help
eliminate porosity and sputtering associated with laser welding
of these materials using traditional techniques. The additional
degrees of freedom achieved through independent amplitude
and frequency of the wobble-head oscillation, when combined
with the high brightness and power available from the fiber laser,
offer the level of control needed to achieve good-quality laser
welding in difficult materials.
Examples presented here are laser welding of difficult materi-
als such as aluminum and copper as well as welding of dissimilar
materials, including control of the intermetallic mixing region with
the wobble-head technology. In addition, the technology offers sig-
nificant advantages in part fit through relaxed tolerance on seam
gap and offset in studies comparing the wobble head with tradi-
STRONG, as in 250 W of
tional laser welding processes. Suitability of the technique with
instantaneous laser power
both single-mode and multimode high-power fiber lasers is also
measurements, thanks to
shown in the study. Finally, the technology is compatible with stan-
an all-metal casing and the
dard welding accessories such as assist gas delivery ports and
coaxial nozzles.
strongest absorber on the SEE IT
market. With its intuitive
touch screen display and IN ACTION
unbeatable price, the Pronto at
[1] T. Hoult et al., Welding solutions for challenging metals with ytterbium fiber lasers, ICALEO
laser power meter is simply
2016 presentation, San Diego, CA (Oct. 2016). gentec-eo.com/
[2] G. Barbieri et al., Mater. Sci. Forum, 879, 10571062 (2017). perfect for laser marking
[3] O. Berend et al., High frequency beam oscillation to increase the process stability during applications. GETPRONTO
laser welding with high melt pool dynamics, Proc. ICALEO, 1041, 1032 (2005). What more could you ask for?
[4] G. Barbieri et al., Procedia Eng., 109, 427434 (2015).
[5] I. Miyamoto et al., Precision microwelding of thin metal foil with single-mode fiber laser,
Proc. SPIE, 5063, 297302 (2003).

BRYCE SAMSON (bsamson@ipgphotonics.com), TONY HOULT, and MUSTAFA

COSKUN are all with IPG Photonics, Oxford, MA; www.ipgphotonics.com.

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t e c h n o l o g y r e p o r t

Laser joining method c

JAN FROSTEVARG AND JONAS NSSTRM slow cooling cyclesand is thereby limited to mild low-alloy,
high-strength steels.
Other techniques can be considered to avoid high produc-
tion costs by arc welding in thick sheets. For example, laser
beam welding (LBW) is a method with high energy density that
produces a less-wide HAZ, higher welding speeds, and less
distortion to the parts being welded. It also allows for much

larger penetration depths in single passesit yields flawless
n emerging technique to join thick depths up to 12mm with full penetration and up to 20mm with
metal sheets is being investigated partial penetration, depending on the laser source and optics.
for use with equipment readily However, LBW has limited gap bridgeability and can suf-
available at many industrial com- fer from porosity, solidification cracking, and too-hard weld
panies that employ laser welding fusion zones (FZ) because of the rapid cooling by surround-
or cladding already. The method ing metal/atmosphere, effectively quenching the weld so that
works by resistance-heating the hard microstructures are produced. To increase homogeneity
filler wire using standard weld equipment to produce welds that and quality throughout the depth of a weld, treatments such
have close to net-shape surfaces, which in turn could decrease as preheating can be applied.
post-processing. Another technique that utilizes the advantages of laser pro-
Numerous industrial fields, including railways, shipbuild- cessing is laser-arc hybrid welding (LAHW). Although it is more
ing, heavy equipment, and pipelines, rely on joining of thick complex, it combines laser and arc technology to improve
metal sheets. In some cases, the chemistry and structure both welding speed and penetration depth when compared to
of the metal are especially importantparticularly in pipe- GMAW and LBW alone. In thick sheets, the method still suffers
lines located in remote arctic conditions, which have corro- from nonhomogeneous filler-base metal mixing through the
sive ocean elements and cold temperatures that decrease depth of the weld, and suffers from LBW imperfections such as
toughness. Weld seams required to have high toughness can solidification cracking and porosity. Starting at ~8mm, LAHW
be obtained by modifying composition of filler wire, resulting also has increased formation of root humping in full penetra-
in adapted microstructure. tion welds, which gets increasingly more difficult to suppress
when welding thicker sheets.
Traditional method limitations
Typically, gas metal arc welding (GMAW) is used to join thick Narrow-gap multi-layer laser welding
steel sheets. Even though the weld source is relatively cheap,If welding speed requirements are reduced, an emerging tech-
GMAW requires a wide joint preparation that involves multiple nique called narrow-gap multi-layer laser welding (NGMLW) is
passes. This is both time- and resource-consuming, and also available for joining sheets that are 8mm and thicker. NGMLW
produces a wide heat-affected zone (HAZ). Submerged arc is a laser cladding technique applied in a gap that is grad-
welding (SAW) is an alternative, but has high heat input and ually filled by each added layer (FIGURE 1) and being devel-
oped in many countries, including Japan,
China, Germany, and Finland. The method
a) Laser Wire b)
is similar to 3D printing with laser metal
deposition (LMD), but applied as a joining
technique. The weld speed of NGMLW is
between arc and laser welding, but offers
higher control of weld metallurgy.
Multiple layers create a more uniform
microstructure in each layer while some
Base plate Defocused Multi-pass Welded
setup with laser beam welding sample heat treatment occurs in the previous layer,
root support reducing residual stresses created during
solidification. A potential risk of apply-
FIGURE 1. The NGMLW process shown incrementally filled (a) and in cross-section (b). ing multiple layers is that every layer is a

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1703ILS_16 16 2/28/17 8:44 AM

can process thick steel
a) Without arc With arc
weld, which can exhibit imperfections in Process mechanics Sealing
the form of porosity, lack of fusion, solidi- In this demonstrated case, thick steel
fication cracking, and humping. However, sheets are joined using a 3mm-wide gap
a potential advantage of the process is the (2.5:1mm diameter of the filler wire) with
possibility to adapt the chemistry of the added root support. Travel speed for each 1 mm 1 mm
i ii
filler material, adapted with the heat cycle layer is ~1m/min and wire feed rate is ~7m/
to produce welds with tailored properties. min, providing a layer thickness of ~3mm. Intermediate
For example, to obtain high toughness in The welding wire is ~1.2mm wide and resis-
low temperatures, microstructures such tance-heated by a Fronius GMA welding
as acicular ferrite are desired. These can source using constant current, with a target
be obtained through composition of the current set beforehand. The laser power iii 1 mm iv 1 mm
base material (added material for nucle- source used is an IPG Photonics Yb:fiber
ation sites) as well as thermal cycles that laser with a 6kW defocused beam to form
favor their formation. a Gaussian profile with a large-enough spot
Proper interaction between the laser and size to ensure full irradiation of the pro-
wire is of high importance to ensure sta- cess regime. Both the arc torch and the 1 mm 1 mm
v vi
ble melting behavior. Besides heating the optics are moved by a robot, with the wire b) Without arc With arc
melt pooland possibly preheating the fed from the front of the welding zone and Sealing (mm)
gap edgethe laser should irradiate the shielding gas provided by a tube in front of pass
5 6
full width of the wire, which can be accom- the process zone. FIGURE 2 shows a frame
plished by scanning or defocusing the obtained with high-speed imaging (HSI) i ii
beam. The energy needed from the laser from the process front.
can be lowered by preheating the wire The wire should be kept in the process pass
4 5
for example, by resistance heating to limit zone at all times without touching the sheet
excessive melting of base material. This edges. It is important to mention that the
iii iv
technique is often applied using special- wire, with a long stick-out, is very difficult
ized equipment that includes nozzles to to extrude perfectly straighttherefore,
ensure wire positioning, nozzles for pro- specialized nozzles are often employed FIGURE 3. Example images for various
viding shielding gas, and oscillating mir- to guide the wire towards the melt zone. parameter settings, showing cross-cuts (a)
ror optics (or a galvanometer) for the laser. However, the wire can be kept reasonably and weld-pass surfaces (b).

a) b) 0 10 20 30 40 t (ms)

i 2 mm Melt pool Prev. gap Melt pool

perimeter edge perimeter
with flow
Metal direction


Sheet Sheet ii Melt pool Prev. gap Melt pool

Melt perimeter
perimeter edge
LLaser spot
Melt pooll

FIGURE 2. A frame from high-speed imaging (HSI) filmed at the front of the weld, with annotations of the NGMLW process (a) and sealing-
pass HSI frames with and without arcing behavior (b).

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t e c h n o l o g y r e p o r t

straight with a stick-out (stand-off a) Laser Direction b) Laser Wide

beam of tensional beam Heated filler wire area Arc
distance) at 32mmeven if the forces
wire is originally positioned in the
middle of the process zone, it will
oscillate. But since the laser spot
size covers the whole process
region, this problem is partially
eliminated so that customized ii
wire nozzles are not necessar-
Molten metal Metal bridge Narrow
ily required. bridge breaks area

Influence of laser FIGURE 4. An explanation of centerline cracking because of laser shape (a) and arc formation (b).
Positioning of the laser is of high Conversely, an over-powerful heat input With NGMLW, the following processes
importance, and different settings are causes arcing between the wire and the are recommended:
recommended for the three different layer melt pool, which may prevent formation For intermediate passes, laser optics
regimes: root pass, intermediate pass, of intended microstructure in the weld should be positioned appropriately to
and sealing pass. Since the wire is pre- zone. Depending on machine properties obtain a spot size that is equal to the
heated and fed into the melt pool, the laser for resistance-heating the wire, process gap width at the intended layer height;
does not have to directly hit the wire for it instabilities could cause heat inputs that The wire should be fed into the laser
to melt, as long as the melt pool is suf- vary during processing. spot on the bottom of the gap/surface
ficiently deep and hot. Any defocusing In the case shown in FIGURES 2 AND 3, of the previous layer at ~35;
width in the ~36.5mm range at the pro- the current was locked, but voltage can be The wire current settings should be
cess zone works to melt the wire and pro- adjusted by the welding machine to ensure as high as possible (750W or higher)
duce a proper melt pool. If the laser hits heating of the wire. If voltage is too high, the while simultaneously avoiding any form
the sheet edges, they are partly heated process gets increased arc formation fre- of arcing; and
and melted, ensuring wetting and fusion quency and more pronounced arc-related For the sealing pass that forms the
of the weld. problems. An arc can form if the molten weld cap, wire feeding rates should be
It is important to note that using this metal bridge between the melt pool and adjusted to obtain proper filling, and
setup, the welds in the intermediate wire breaks, either by wire movement oscil- have a laser spot size slightly larger than
passes can suffer from centerline crack- lation or off-burning by the laser or cur- the gap width.
ing (FIGURE 3) when the laser spot width is rent. Once the arc has formed, it uses the This NGMLW method will be used in a cur-
too wide. Though not directly observed, it path with least resistance (contact area/ rent EU Horizon 2020 project for welding
is believed that prominent wetting of the distance), which in this process are the gap thick steels in arctic offshore applications,
gap edges is the cause by actually provid- edges that are melted. which means that the welds (and base
ing too-high wetting (FIGURE 4). The arc formed at low voltages has no metal) need to have high properties in
If the laser heats (and partially melts) the or little impactbut at higher voltages, cold (-60C) and corrosive (withstand rust)
gap edges higher than the intended layer arc formation is easier and occurs for conditions. In the project, submerged arc
height, surface tension will pull the edges of longer durations with a larger and stron- welding for thick-sheet steel welding will be
the melt pool to the rims and during solidi- ger arc, which causes melting of the gap compared with a creative laser-arc hybrid
fication cause tensional forces, promoting edges. This leads to dilution of FZ and welding setup, as well as NGMLW.
crack formation. If the laser only hits the possibly weakens the base material in the
wall at the intended layer height, crack for- HAZ. To ensure high weld quality, arcing
1. G. Turichin, M. Kuznetsov, M. Sokolov, and A. Salminen,
mation is less likely to occur. For the seal- should be avoided. Hybrid laser arc welding of X80 steel: Influence of welding
ing pass, the laser width should be slightly speed and preheating on the microstructure and mechanical
properties, 15th Nordic Laser Materials Processing
larger than the gap width to enhance Process recommendations
Conference, Lappeenranta, Finland (2015).
proper wetting at the surface, achieving The NGMLW technique has many advan- 2. T. Ilar, I. Eriksson, J. Powell, and A. Kaplan, Phys. Procedia,
near- to flat (net-shape) surfaces. tages compared to pure GMAW, SAW, 39, 2732 (2012).
3. X. Zhang et al., J. Laser Appl., 23, 022002 (2011);
LBW, or LAHW for joining thick sheets,
Influence of voltage for with a productivity rate between pure arc 4. R. Schedewy, D. Dittrich, B. Brenner, and E. Beyer, Opt.
wire preheating or laser techniques. However, most dis- Lasers Eng., 50, 12301241 (2012).

Sufficient preheating is a prerequisite to advantages compared to the other tech-

DR. JAN FROSTEVARG (jan.frostevarg@ltu.se) is
have proper melting of the wire and proper niques are eliminated and every layer can
an associate professor and JONAS NSSTRM is a
fusion to the gap edges, whereas inade- have adapted metallurgy, which is some- graduate student, both in the Division of Product and
quate heat input causes lack of melting thing to be considered for tempered Production Development at the Lule University of
of the filler wire and, often, lack of fusion. thick sheets. Technology, Lule, Sweden.

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t e c h n o l o g y r e p o r t

Triple-spot laser
brazing joins
galvanized sheets



Front spots
iode laser brazing is a a) b)
well-established method Wire
for joining galvanized steel spot
sheets in series produc-
tion of automotive bodies.
Brazing optics, developed
specifically for this applica-
tion, are moved along the joint by means of robots. The Workpiece
laser beam is transported by a fiber to the optics, and
copper silicon wire (CuSi3) is melted within the brazing process.
Key to the success of laser brazing technology, besides a
stability that is similar to a weld, is mainly with the high aes- FIGURE 1. A
thetic quality of the joints. Laser-generated brazing seams triple-spot module
are known for their smooth, clean surfaces and junctions to integrated with
the joining parts. This is visually appealing and it almost com- the Scansonic ALO3
pletely spares post-processing, allowing immediate painting brazing optic (a)
after cleaning possible. Laser-based brazing enables such a clearly appear after painting. The qual- and the optimized
unique impression of the joint that, unlike conventional join- ity of the joint itself decreases, as it is
rectangle spot (OR
ing techniques, cover parts and their storage and assem- rougher and often shows the so-called Spot) triple-spot
bly can be saved. wavelets that, if excessive, can exceed module (b).
However, laser brazing technology has not been able to the required joint appearance. These
meetat least partiallythe expectations placed on it. procedural difficulties have caused
Automobile manufacturers have increasingly moved towards automobile manufacturers to seek alternative solutions from
using hot-dip galvanized sheets in the body. Hot-dip galva- their distributors.
nizing is more corrosion-resistant than the classical elec- At that time, we had been testing brazing with a rectan-
tro-galvanizing, so the changeover offers technical and eco- gular spot instead of the traditional round single spot. To
nomic advantages. produce a rectangular spot in a brazing optic, a homogeni-
Laser brazing does not produce the usual results because zation module is put into a Scansonic ALO3 brazing optic
of the new surface features of the sheets. In areas close to the (FIGURE 1a). Such homogenizers have been used for years
joints, spatter increasingly occursespecially micro-spat- by Laserline to create rectangular spots for hardening with
tersthat can hardly be recognized at the beginning, but laser powers up to 10kW.

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t e c h n o l o g y r e p o r t

Triple-spot module technology

We aimed to create a rectangular spot with a
recess in which a wire could be supplied. This first
geometry did not directly lead to the required suc-
cess, but within a year we were able to develop
(with several iteration stages) the present tri-
ple-spot module known as the optimized rect-
angle spot (OR spot) module. In this solution
(FIGURE 1b), there are two smaller front spots posi-
tioned at the main spot that ablate the galvaniza-
tion at the edges of the brazed seam. The main
spot melts the lot, directly following a separate
process, and creates the required joint.
The process is calmed by ablation of zinc at
the edge area of the joint, such that spatters and
wavelets are almost completely prevented. Doing FIGURE 3. The Audi Q5 aluminum
so enables creation of smooth and clean joints. tailgate, with the weld seam in the
Beam distribution in three beams by means visible area, is shown.
of a triple-spot module within the brazing optics
has many beneficial properties (FIGURE 2). To calm
the brazing process described above, an exact arrangement of spots is necessary. Different
the spots to one another is necessary, while on the other hand, power distribution in the three
an exactly adjusted distribution of the laser power to the three spots is also needed, depend-
ing on the application (roof or
a) tailgate) or different joint geom-
etries. The patented triple-spot
module offers the advantage
of a stepless adjustable power
distribution between the main
spot and the front spots, and
between these leading front
FIGURE 4. Stitch and
spots. Furthermore, with this
fillet welds in the Audi A6
module, the space between
aluminum door are shown.
the front spots can be subse-
quently adjusted. The position
of the module within the tactile brazing optics directly behind the
integrated swivel axis also has a special meaning. Since their intro-
duction, the tactile brazing optics patented by Scansonic have
b) been in use for some time now, making a significant reduction of
seam errors possible.
The robot has limited path accuracy and components, and
clamping techniques do not always bring the joint into exactly
identical positions. So, the wire is used as a seam-tracking sen-
sor by the optics, and the frontal telescopic arm is swiveled for
seam tracking. After the swivel axis, the laser beam is redirected
at a 45 mirror, and follows the wire. Because of the integration of
the module behind the swivel axis, the triple spot created is always
correctly oriented towards the wire. Therefore, the brazing process
with robot and optics can be programmed as usual. If a triple-core
fiber (also available commercially) is used to create a triple spot, the
swivel axis must be left out. When using a swivel axis, and because
of the 45 mirror, the front spots would turn around the axis of the
main spot, which would lead to process fluctuations. With the tri-
ple-spot module, special fibers or lasers are unnecessary.
FIGURE 2. A brazing result with hot-dip galvanized material at Laserline diode lasers are used for brazing by almost all large
4.5m/min. (a) done with the triple-spot brazing process (b). automobile manufacturers around the world. Diode lasers, with

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1703ILS_20 20 2/28/17 8:45 AM

t e c h n o l o g y r e p o r t

a beam parameter product of 60mm-mrad, are the standard with a magnification of 0.9 to enable keyhole welding. FIGURE 4
lasers, and we have developed the triple-spot module for use shows a cross-section of a lap joint fillet weld with 1.6mm alu-
with these lasersso standard lasers with up to six exits can minum silicon (AlSi) filler wire, which is typically applied in the
be used. Furthermore, stan- structure or non-visible areas of
dard fibers can be inserted via hang-on parts.
plug-and-play, which is advan- Tailored triple spot mod-
tageous if an older system is ules can be utilized if welding
equipped with triple-spot mod- through or excessive root con-
ules. In most cases, the stan- vexity needs to be avoided or
dard lasers already in use only if a class-A seam surface is
need a revision of the optics. required. This optimizes heat
If further improvements of flow and therefore the surface
the modules are made, those and cross-section of the seam
already installed can be easily is improved. The operation prin-
exchanged with newer ones. FIGURE 5. A result of a linear-edge fillet weld on a 5xxx aluminum ciple is the same as explained in
Because of the variety of test coupon with tailored triple-spot geometry. the brazing section above.
positive features, the triple-spot FIGURE 5 shows the results
module, which was introduced of linear-edge fillet welds on
at the beginning of 2016, has a) 5xxx aluminum test coupons
already entered automobile with tailored triple spot geome-
production. Now, the module try made in our application lab.
is integrated into several series The process window for a given
productions. The triple-spot con- robot and wire speed ranges
cept offers a solution for brazing from 3.8 to 4.6kW at a veloc-
hot-dip galvanized sheets with ity of 4 m/min. While the main
the usual quality and produc- spot accounts for the welding
tion techniques. process, the additional circu-
lar spots running in the front
Aluminum welding or back of the process smooth
applications the seam. Thus, these tailored
Welding of aluminum, in addi- 1mm spot geometries allow combin-
tion to brazing, is the second ing the advantages of heat con-
most common application for duction and keyhole welding.
diode lasers. Within the last One part of the spot opens up
five years, several dozens of b) the keyhole, while the surround-
diode laser systems with 4 to ing intensity profile guarantees
6kW power have been installed a smooth weld comparable to a
in the field. heat conduction process.
FIGURE 3 shows examples of In FIGURE 6, a similar process
welding on the exterior of tail- is carried out on an outer skin
gates. Part geometry, clamp- roof coach joint. Tailored inten-
ing techniques, and processes sity profile and heat distribu-
are similar to laser brazing on tion allow for a very smooth
the exterior surface. However, and tight seam.
welding of aluminum requires FIGURE 6. An example of an outer skin roof coach joint (a) The fundamentals of laser
a smaller focal diameter of typ- produced using the triple-spot process, allowing for a very aluminum welding are under-
ically 0.6 to 0.9 mm to allow smooth and tight seam (b). stood to a large extent, so fur-
keyhole welding. Laser welding ther improvements tend to
is also often used in structural parts. After welding, the seam is occur in the welding process detailsfor example, spot geom-
directly coatable and additional finishing is not required. etries can be changed to optimized shapes. Diode lasers help
to create added value in modern production lines major auto-
Tactile laser welding with triple spots motive applications because they are robust, easy to operate,
The typical aluminum welding process described previously and highly modular.
is characterized by a round spot that is 0.6 to 0.9mm in diam-
eter. The laser is delivered via a fiber with a 600m core and DR. AXEL LUFT (axel.luft@laserline.de) is Sales Manager, Global Automotive for
focused onto the workpiece through a tactile process optic Laserline, Mlheim-Krlich, Germany; www.laserline.de.

www.industrial-lasers.com MARCH/APRIL 2017 Industrial Laser Solutions 21

1703ILS_21 21 2/28/17 8:45 AM

a p p l i c a t i o n r e p o r t

Micromachining applications for




Tailored beam profiles

ompact, high-power, high-
beam-quality polarized lasers
Line shaped top-hat
are in demand for applications
in industries and research such
as micromachining and efficient
harmonic generation. Through
an optimal combination of crys-
tal shape, cooling, and resonator design, lasers such as the
InnoSlab lasers and amplifiers possess short pulse duration,
high peak power, high pulse repetition rate, and high beam
quality at high average power. They also offer flexibility in Circular Gaussian Square top-hat
beam profile, from circular beam profile through line-shaped
one- and two-dimensional top hat beam profiles with rect-
angular cross-section to serve a variety of unique applica-
tions with added value. Rectangular top-hat

Beam FIGURE 2. In this setup, there is a polarizer and a

shaping Modulator Tailorable beam Pockels cell for generating Q-switched
Stable Output profiles of an pulses. The laser beam traverses the
beam electro-optically resonator several times and may be
Unstable Q-switched decoupled over the edge of the mir-
Diode M1 Slab Polarizer InnoSlab laser. ror, which may remind some of the old
stack CO2 slab laser.
FIGURE 1. The entire resonator is shorter than 10cm, which leads to
Schematic of pulse length below 10ns and high peak power. Also, the beam
Short-pulsed lasers
an end-pumped profile can be easily changed from circular Gaussian to line-
To get high output power at high beam
slab and shaped top-hat or two-dimensional top-hat, which is the basis
quality and at low cost, an innovative slab
electro-optically for optimal industrial application solutions with tailored beam
laser concept (InnoSlab) was proposed
Q-switched profiles (FIGURE 2).
(FIGURE 1).The diodes are coupled in with
InnoSlab laser The parameters of commercially available Q-switched
their line-shape beam profiles through the
with hybrid InnoSlab lasers include:
resonator mirror. Then, a thin active crys-
resonator. Pulse energy up to 50mJ;
tal is partially pumped by the diodes to a Beam quality of M2 <1.3;
thin crystal that is conductively cooled through both large side Pulse length down to 4ns;
surfaces, leading to a one-dimensional heat flow perpendic- Peak power up to 6MW;
ular to the direction of the laser beam. This, in turn, leads to a Pulse repetition rate up to 100kHz;
controllable thermal cylindrical lensing, with no depolarization Average power up to 600W; and
and no phase distortion. Availability in 1064, 532, 355, and 266nm wavelengths.

22 Industrial Laser Solutions MARCH/APRIL 2017 www.industrial-lasers.com

1703ILS_22 22 2/28/17 8:45 AM

short- and ultrashort-
pulsed lasers

Ultrashort-pulsed lasers by the naked eye. In this way, subsurface marking of logos and
Using the same pumping scheme, slab geometry, and mirror brand names is possible.
configuration, superior multipass amplifiers can be obtained Glass drilling. FIGURE 4 shows the principle and possibil-
(FIGURE 3). The secret of the InnoSlab amplifier is large ampli- ity of glass processing via forward ablation. In contrast to
fication factor; efficient power and energy extraction; scal- sub-surface engraving, the focus is placed on the bottom
ability of power and energy; and surface while cutting and drilling glasses.
conservation of seeder properties Mirror In this way, high-precision, reproducible,
Laser crystal 2
(beam quality, pulse length, etc.). and high-speed processing of glasses is
Output beam
This allows kilowatt power and available. With a Q-switched InnoSlab laser
multi-millijoule energy to be reached operated at frequency of 100kHz, volume
for ultrashort pulses and beyond. ablation rates >1.5mm3/s can be achieved.
Based on the InnoSlab ampli- This process has been used in drilling holes
fier concept, different models of Mirror 1 in glass plate for use in showers, glass lids,
ultrashort-pulsed lasers have been and contact holes in photovoltaics.
introduced with: Cutting and milling of glass. Full-body
Beam quality of M2 <1.3; cutting of glass or sapphire sheet can
Input beam
Pulse energy up to 2000J; be realized using the layer-by-layer abla-
Pulse length down to 600fs; tion process with a high-power picosec-
FIGURE 3. Schematic of an InnoSlab
Peak power up to 200MW; ond laser. A volume rate up to 2mm3/s can
Pulse repetition rate up to
Average power up to 400W; and Laser beam
Availability in 1064, 532, 355, and
266nm wavelengths. optics

Examples of industrial
Subsurface engraving. By focus-
ing a short-pulse laser beam into
a glass block, the pulse energy is Glass
absorbed to a great extent in the
focal zone, leading to melting and
evaporation of materials. Because
of the mechanical stress associated Drilled hole
with the melting and evaporation,
cracks are induced in the glass that FIGURE 4. With precision drilling in glass, boreholes can be produced that have a depth-
are approximately 100m in size, dependent cross-section (the holes shown are filled with a colored liquid to increase
and are perceived as marking dots visibility).

www.industrial-lasers.com MARCH/APRIL 2017 Industrial Laser Solutions 23

1703ILS_23 23 2/28/17 8:45 AM

a p p l i c a t i o n r e p o r t

be achieved using a 250W picosecond a)

laser (FIGURE 5). Ablation rate (mm3/s)
Cutting of transparent and brittle mate- 2.0
rials. A process similar to subsurface
engraving can be used to separate trans-
parent and brittle materials like glass and 1.2
sapphire. This process, also known as 1064nm
0.8 1MHz
filamentation cutting, is widely used for
separation of sapphire and glass sheets. Speed 4m/s
The typical thickness of the sapphire or
80 100 120 140 160 180 200 220 240
glass sheet is <0.7mm. The cut edge is Power (W)
of high quality with cracks below 5m.
Cutting speed can be as high as several
FIGURE 5. The layer-by-layer ablation
meters per second.
process with a picosecond laser used in
Engraving of embossing cylinders. 3D
cutting and milling of sapphire, showing the volume ablation rate via power (a) and an
microstructuring of large-scale metal sur-
example of a sapphire watch cover (b).
faces for embossing and printing appli-
cations with picosecond lasers has been
boosted by the availability of new high- favorable laser features: short pulse length, unique applications, such as processing of
power, ultrashort-pulsed laser sources. high peak output power, high pulse repeti- transparent brittle materials, generation of
tion rate, high beam quality at high average microstructures, and engraving of emboss-
Conclusions power, and high flexibility in beam profile. ing cylinders, among other utilities.
InnoSlab lasers and amplifiers combine Short- and ultrashort-pulsed lasers with
KEMING DU (du@edge-wave.com), DAIJUN LI,
diode pumping, crystal shape, cooling, tailored and value-added features, based
and SHIZHOU XIAO are all with EdgeWave GmbH,
and resonator design, unifying the most on this design, are used in a variety of Wrselen, Germany; www.edge-wave.com.

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1703ILS_24 24 2/28/17 8:45 AM

t e c h n o l o g y r e p o r t

Novel laser method

separates a) b) c)

materials FIGURE 1. The principle of the TLS-Dicing process includes
laser heating (a), water spray cooling (b), and stress-induced
cleaving (c).


10 ml/min) of deionized water spray (FIGURE 1b). This creates

MANDY GEBHARDT a second cooled zone near the first zone that induces a tan-
gential tensile stress pattern. The resulting tensile stress in the
overlaying region of both stress patterns opens and guides the
crack tip through the material (FIGURE 1c).

TLS-Dicing has many advantages compared to traditional
ost, quality, and throughput are cutting technologies, including high separation speed; very
major factors in achieving suc- smooth side walls free of chipping and micro-cracks and with
cessful manufacturing in the superior bending strength; and low cost of ownership because
semiconductor and photovoltaics of no tool wear and almost no consumables.
industry. One important process The process uses two laser sourcesa short-pulsed scrib-
type is cutting, as different kinds ing laser (532nm, or near-infrared [near-IR] wavelength) with
of cutting processes are needed a Gaussian beam profile for the initial scribe and the cleaving
to separate wafers into dies or cut solar cells into half-cells. laser. The cleaving is realized by a 200W continuous-wave laser
Traditional cutting techniques are mechanical- or laser-based, with a near-IR wavelength.
both of which are connected with dis- TLS-Dicing is a kerfless cleaving process,
advantages such as particle genera- as almost no particles are generated by TLS
tion because of material removal and itself. In comparison to traditional technol-
material damages at the cutting edge. ogies, TLS-Dicing is a one-pass process
that separates the whole thickness of the
Thermal laser separation wafer at once.
Thermal laser separation (TLS-Dicing)
is a fast, clean, and cost-effective alter- Dicing of SiC devices
native to separate brittle semiconduc- Because of its wide band gap, high mechan-
tor materials such as silicon (Si), silicon 120m ical strength, and high thermal conductivity,
carbide (SiC), germanium (Ge), and gal- SiC is used in certain power device applica-
lium arsenide (GaAs). tions. These devices can operate at higher
Depending on the application, a FIGURE 2. A SiC die edge after the TLS- voltages, frequencies, and temperatures,
starting point is given by an initial Dicing process shows smooth edges and as well as convert electric power at higher
scribe. Afterwards, the material is no micro-cracks or chipping. efficiency or lower power losses. At the
heated by a laser with a well-defined same time, SiC is an extremely hard and
energy insertion (FIGURE 1a). The heated material expands and brittle material (Mohs scale 9.2), which can create process-
pressure forces occur inside the heated zone, accompanied by ing challenges.
tensile stress around the heated zone. Laser heating is directly Traditional dicing technologies have some disadvantages
followed by a cooling jet of extremely small amounts (below concerning process speed and dicing quality. Mechanical

www.industrial-lasers.com MARCH/APRIL 2017 Industrial Laser Solutions 25

1703ILS_25 25 2/28/17 8:45 AM

t e c h n o l o g y r e p o r t


FIGURE 3. Examples of separation edges include a laser-processed edge with subsequent breaking (a) and a TLS edge (b).

sawing suffers from low feed rate and high wear of the dicing blade, mechanical stability of TLS-processed half-cells is significantly
resulting in higher cost. In addition, blade sawing can result in chip- greater than conventionally processed solar cells.
ping and delamination at the edge of the die. In comparison, laser TLS-Dicing allows feed rates of up to 500mm/s, resulting in an
ablation leads to a significant heat-affected zone, low edge qual- approximate 5X increase in the processing speed compared to
ity, and micro-cracks. In addition, the ablation rate is very low and conventional ablation and breaking methods. Laser processing
multiple passes are needed to separate the dies. on-the-fly and an innovative handling concept enable maximum
TLS-Dicing is a one-pass process that separates the whole thick- throughput of approximately 10,000 half-cells per hour.
ness of the SiC wafer with a separation speed of up to 300mm/s.
Since TLS-Dicing is a cleaving process, it has the potential to Current developments
reduce the width of the dicing street and increase the number of Besides the use in photovoltaics or semiconductor industry,
chips per wafer. The die edges are smooth and free of remain- 3D-Micromac also offers a glass cutting process based on ther-
ing stress, micro-cracks, and chipping zone mal laser separation. Here, the cleaving process is
(FIGURE 2). Furthermore, metal structures in the done using a CO2 laser. Depending on the applica-
dicing street on the front side, polyimide on the tion, a post-breaking or laser full-cut can be used.
dies, and the backside metal can be separated Cutting results comply with the requirements
with no delamination or heat effects. of industrial display production, and guaran-
Yield analyses on the use of the TLS-Dicing tee clean and gentle processing. Optically
process on a typical power device wafer with clear cutting edges free of micro-cracks can be
full backside metallization, polyimide, and achieved (FIGURE 4).
metal structures in the dicing streets have Focused applications range from microscope
shown an average yield value >98%. In addi- slides to covers for flat panel displays. The most
tion, TLS-Dicing has demonstrated a signifi- commonly addressed glass types are soda lime in
cant improvement in terms of cost per wafer [1]. the 0.7 to 1.1mm range, as well as alkali-free boro
3D-Micromacs microDICE system using TLS- aluminosilicate for flat-panel display applications
Dicing technology has already been used by FIGURE 4. The cutting edge of from 0.1 to 0.7mm.
major industrial manufacturers. a soda-lime glass sample using TLS-Dicing is a completely new approach to
TLS. separating brittle semiconductor materials used
Cutting of Si solar cells in the semiconductor and photovoltaics industry
Cell separation has become industrially relevant because of the at high throughput, low cost, and with high-separation quality. The
introduction of half-cell module concepts, which allow a substan- cleaving is always a one-pass process. A feed rate between 300
tial power gain. The standard industrial process of p-type cells is and 500 mm/s applies, depending on the application. It produces
based on laser scribing and subsequent mechanical breaking. excellent side-wall quality without chipping, and has a lower cost of
The disadvantages of this process are reduced cell efficiency and ownership compared to traditional dicing or cutting technologies.
mechanical strength, as well as expensive handling because of
the combination of a laser process with a subsequent mechan- ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
ical breaking. TLS-Dicing, microDICE, and microCELL are trademarks of
To overcome these drawbacks, 3D-Micromac is using TLS- 3D-Micromac AG.
Dicing in its industrial microCELL laser system for separating sil-
icon solar cells into half-cells. Compared to conventional sepa- REFERENCE
ration technologies, TLS-Dicing enables clean, micro-crack-free [1] See https://goo.gl/h14mRh.

edges with no crystal damage on the separation edge. As opposed

to laser cutting, no bulging and no formation of particles occurs MANDY GEBHARDT (gebhardt@3d-micromac.com) is the manager of marketing and
because the substrate is merely heated and not vaporized. The public relations for 3D-Micromac AG, Chemnitz, Germany; www.3d-micromac.com.

26 Industrial Laser Solutions MARCH/APRIL 2017 www.industrial-lasers.com

1703ILS_26 26 2/28/17 8:45 AM


MARCH 25-29 Lasers in Manufacturing (LiM)

19-23 29th Additive Manufacturing 2017, Munich, Germany; www.wlt.de/lim
Group Publisher Alan Bergstein
(603) 891-9447 alanb@pennwell.com User Group Conference, Chicago, IL;
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Editor-in-Chief David A. Belforte and Electro-Optics, Munich, Germany;
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20-23 International Laser Safety
Associate Editor Lee Dubay Conference (ILSC 2017), Atlanta, GA;
(603) 891-9116 leed@pennwell.com 26-29 LASER World of
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International Editorial MAY www.world-of-photonics.com
Advisory Board Tony Hoult PhD, BSc (industrial applications for fiber lasers) 2-4 Fabtech Mexico, Monterrey, Mexico;
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Geoff Shannon Ph.D., BS (laser welding, micromachining) http://mexico.fabtechexpo.com
11-13 12th International Conference
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CORPORATE OFFICERS Advertiser ............................................................................................................. Page
Chairman Robert F. Biolchini
Aerotech, Inc. ..........................................................................................................................5
Vice Chairman Frank T. Lauinger
President and Mark C. Wilmoth Gentec Electro-Optics Inc. ....................................................................................................15
Chief Executive Officer
Executive Vice President, Jayne A. Gilsinger II-VI, Inc. ............................................................................................................................... C2
Corporate Development
IPG Photonics Corp..................................................................................................................8
and Strategy
Senior Vice President, Brian Conway Laser Mechanisms, Inc. ....................................................................................................... C3
Finance and Chief Financial Officer
TECHNOLOGY GROUP Laser Research Optics ............................................................................................................3
Senior Vice President and Christine A. Shaw
Ophir-Spiricon, Inc. .................................................................................................................7
Publishing Director
Performance Review Institute...............................................................................................24
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1703ILS_27 27 2/28/17 8:47 AM

my view

Microprocessing sets the tone for 2017

Maybe it was the roaring success of this years brazing process. They also posit that a tailored
SPIE Photonics West, which has more of a focus spot geometry could facilitate smooth tactile outer
on microprocessing as opposed to the macropro- skin aluminum welding (see page 19).
cessing focus of Fabtech, as I seem to be inun- On the micro-scale, Keming Du et al.
dated with news about ultrafast-pulse (UFP) lasers (EdgeWave) describe a short-pulse, high-peak-
and processing technology. For example, in the power, high-pulse-repetition-rate, high-beam-
last issue of ILS, half of the editorial was on UFP quality, and high-average-power laser capable
processing technology. This issue, I went the other of producing beams with circular through line-
wayso macro-applications are dominant. shaped one- and two-dimensional top-hat beam
Lest you think I was prescient, consider the ILS profiles with a rectangular cross-section to pro-
editorial calendar was actually planned last August cess a variety of unique applications with added
before I took into account the micromachining value (see page 22).
atmosphere at Photonics West and MD&M. And finally, Mandy Gebhardt (3D Micromac)
In this issue, we feature welding materials using shows how thermal laser separation is used to
MACROPROCESSING a technique known as beam wobbling to manip- induce mechanical stress to separate brittle semi-
ulate a small, highly dynamic weld pool specifically conductor materials into dies, with improved edge
APPLICATIONS for laser welding dissimilar thin metal combina- quality while increasing manufacturing yield and
tions that were previously considered unweldable. throughput and reducing dicing cost per wafer up
Bryce Samson and colleagues at IPG Photonics to an order of magnitude (see page 25).
think this technology can be extended to laser Switching thoughtstwo months into a new
power up to 12kW (see page 12). year and one month after a new administration
STAGE THIS ISSUE On another thickness scale, Jan Frostevarg in Washington, we are getting messages that the
and Jonas Nsstrm (Lule University) suggest US is having a strong start in the manufacturing
that narrow-gap multi-layer laser welding with a sector. Business has picked up and factories are
defocused laser and resistance-heated filler wire running at high capacity levels. Investment money
can produce deep welds with low base material seems to be looser and we hear talk of expan-
dilution and more adaptable fusion zone proper- sions from a number of companies who stood
ties (see page 16). pat last year.
In the continuing search for lightweight automo- Optimism, a word preceded by cautious
tive seat structures, Geert Verhaeghe and asso- last year, is being bandied about by industrial-
ciates at Faurecia assess laser-based joining of ists in North America, and we have not heard the
metals to plastics in a two-part process, compris- dreaded recession word from any sector. The
ing a microstructuring and a joining step, to join a new double-R, Regulatory Reform, is the key word
prototype lightweight hybrid backrest seat struc- among CEOs today. Many forecasters anticipate
ture (see page 9). that the US will return to driving the world econ-
And Axel Luft at Laserline utilizes a homoge- omy in 2017. No predictions from me, as I have my
nizing module to split a single diode laser beam fingers tightly crossed and cant type anymore.
to create three laser spots for brazing hot-dip gal-
vanized steel, where two smaller spots evapo- David A. Belforte
rate zinc and the bigger main spot is used for the belforte@pennwell.com

28 Industrial Laser Solutions MARCH/APRIL 2017 www.industrial-lasers.com

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