TOKYO, June 25, 2012 — Initial testing of a 1-kW fiber laser has shown that it produces the necessary speed and quality welds needed by the Japanese automotive manufacturing industry for a range of industrial applications, including the welding of diesel injectors and airbag initiators.
The applications-based trials of the JK1000FL laser from JK Lasers were conducted by the Mechatronics Div. of systems integrator Sumitomo Heavy Industries (SHI).
The laser achieves 50- to 200-µm focused spot size, enabling deeper penetration or faster processing speeds. When keyhole welding stainless steel, for example, the laser achieved nearly 2-mm penetration at 3.5 m/min. and 3-mm penetration at 0.5 m/min.
The device’s beam quality also is tolerant to defocusing, which allows for processing parameters to be left unaltered to accommodate slight variations between the material and the nozzle tip or lens. SHI’s trials demonstrate that the penetration depth of the JK1000FL is insensitive to defocus in the range of ±1 mm.
The ability to weld consistently while slightly defocused enables the manufacture of part variations and robotic welding arm path discrepancies. However, welding under these conditions — particularly when processing reflective materials such as copper and aluminum, commonly used in automotive battery applications — can cause damaging backreflection. JK Lasers’ patented Plug-In, Pre-Aligned (PIPA) delivery fibers protect the laser under these conditions.
The instrument is also energy-efficient, consuming up to 10 times less energy than Nd:YAG lasers of the same output power. These lasers are of interest in Japan, where almost all of the country’s 54 nuclear reactors — responsible for a third of the nation’s electricity — were shut down following last year’s earthquake and tsunami (See: Optics, Electronics Makers Assess Quake Damage
The Mechatronics Div. has worked with JK Lasers for more than 20 years, integrating the manufacturer’s comprehensive range of Nd:YAG and fiber lasers into its machines to create high-quality production technology.
JK Lasers, part of the GSI Group, also manufactures continuous-wave lasers, process tools and user-friendly software.
For more information, visit: www.shi.co.jp/english