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Proceedings Paper

Dual beam Nd:YAG laser welding: influence of lubricants to lap joint welding of steel sheets
Author(s): M. Geiger; M. Merklein; A. Otto; A. Blankl
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Paper Abstract

Laser welding is applied in large-volume production since the late eighties and has revolutionized the possibilities of designing and engineering products. Nevertheless, problems appear during application because the operational conditions in industrial environments fluctuate and can influence the welding process negatively. Contaminations, like lubricants and organic solids, are an example of changing conditions in laser beam welding. If a lap joint is welded, these materials have to be removed from the sheets, otherwise pores and surface failures may appear due to keyhole instabilities induced by uncontrolled outgassing. One possibility for solving this problem is the use of two separate laser beams. For producing these two beams several systems are available for all different kind of lasers. A bifocal optic is such a solution for an Nd:YAG laser. By using this system, the laser beam is divided after collimation with a prism. Afterwards the two beams are focussed with a lens to the surface of the sheet and two single spots are produced. If the distance between the two spots is low, one common, elliptical keyhole is created. With this system two different welding strategies are possible. The spots can be oriented parallel or normal to the feed direction. For stabilizing the laser welding of contaminated steel sheets the parallel arrangement is better, because the amount of contamination is nearly the same as in single spot welding but the total volume of the keyhole is greater and so pressure variations due to uncontrolled evaporation of contaminations are lower. In order to prove this theory and to determine the exact effects some investigations were made at the Chair of Manufacturing Technology of the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg. A 4 kW Nd:YAG laser with a beam parameter product of 25 mm*mrad and a focal distance of 200 mm was used to weld two 1 mm DC04 steel sheets together with a lap joint. Between the sheets a deep drawing lubricant, Castrol FST 6, was used to simulate the contaminations. The sheets were welded with mono- and bifocal optic, whereas with bifocal the power distribution between the two beams was varied. After welding, the seams were qualified by analyzing surface defects and mechanical properties. The results of the investigations show that the adoption of a bifocal optic can increase the stability of the welding process. The distribution between the two single spots has an essential influence on the welding result. In order to get a higher penetration and failure free seams, a 30 % to 70 % distribution between the two spots is better. Furthermore the blade angle has another slight impact on the welding result. For monofocus and bifocus a towing angle between the sheets and the beam produces better welding results. Considering these results it can be resumed that the application of a bifocal optic is a possibility to increase the quality and the stability of lap joint welding but the parameter settings for good results can only be varied in a tight tolerance zone.

Paper Details

Date Published: 27 April 2007
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 6346, XVI International Symposium on Gas Flow, Chemical Lasers, and High-Power Lasers, 634617 (27 April 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.738673
Show Author Affiliations
M. Geiger, Univ. of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany)
M. Merklein, Univ. of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany)
A. Otto, Univ. of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany)
A. Blankl, Univ. of Erlangen-Nuremberg (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6346:
XVI International Symposium on Gas Flow, Chemical Lasers, and High-Power Lasers

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