Leading Technology for the Customer’s Benefit – Laser Processing Heads for Welding and Cutting

By: Dr. Markus Kogel-Hollacher

For decades Precitec has been the leading manufacturer of processing heads suitable for all laser sources including fiber lasers, disc lasers, CO2 lasers, diode lasers, Nd:YAG lasers from powers ranging from the typically used power spectrum up to 30 kW. These are directly applicable to industrial laser materials processing in order to meet the highest criteria for quality in a given application. To meet our customer’s needs Precitec is continuously improving the performance of their products meeting the requirements modern laser sources demand with respect to beam quality, brightness, and laser power. At ICALEO 2009 Precitec will report on the latest generation of industrial solutions for laser processing heads for welding and cutting taking into account the physical boundaries given by the laser radiation on one hand and on the other the practicability of a modular design with respect to the integration of the processing tool in various industrial applications.

The goal of Precitec is to provide direct applicable tools which ensure the process will reside within the desired processing window. Based on a modular concept the laser welding heads YW30 and YW52 are designed to operate with maximum clear aperture and minimal overall size. In the basic version, the heads are inexpensive, and their range of functions can be expanded to match the customer-specific requirements. All well-known pre-process, in-process, and post-process modules by Precitec can be integrated for fully automated production.

Welding variable joint positions is a challenge which only a limited number of welding heads can master. The tools of choice here are intelligent welding heads. They measure the position of the joint in order to place the weld head at the correct position. Every welding task also requires a spot size that is adapted to the application – and the effective width of the laser beam can be optimised from one seam to another, ensuring a stable process. The weld seam width is thus only as wide as necessary, enabling the highest possible welding speeds. These demands can be fulfilled with Precitec’s new WobbleTracker. The WobbleTracker uses the welding optics YW52 along with a camera to coaxially measure the joint only a few millimeters in front of the TCP. The position acquired is immediately transferred to the controllable deflection mirror (also fully integrated) and pre-selected Wobble amplitude and frequency is then overlaid. The minimum pre-process time (less than one tenth of a second) and the optimal distribution of the energy input per unit length over the weld seam width guarantee short cycle times in a fully optimized process.