Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Laser welding as an engine of innovation

Lasers have long been able to do what traditional welding guns can. Nevertheless, many manufacturers did not dare employ the delicate technology in the raw environment of their assembly floors. At LASER 2013 (Hall C2, Booth 330), researchers will be demonstrating that lasers are robust enough to take over welding duties in fabrication.

Can lasers perform welds precisely and reliably in the midst of thundering machinery? The prototype of a new laser welder developed by an international team of researchers has now withstood the worst.

The new technology allows to project 400 images per second and create 40 three-dimensional images per second. © Fraunhofer IOF

At INTEGASA and ENSA, two companies in Spain that produce heat exchangers for heavy industry, the prototype proved itself precise and reliable under the difficult conditions of routine daily use.

“Manufacturers of heat exchangers were skeptical of laser anything until now,” confirms Patrick Herwig from the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS in Dresden. TIG-welding guns have traditionally been employed in assembly operations for welding thousands of tubes to the perforated tube sheets. This process, which is based on arc-welding technology, is very time-intensive however.
The gun must be manually inserted into every hole and removed again after welding. As a result, the fabrication process is tedious, prolonged, and expensive. European manufacturers can hardly hold their ground today against competition from countries with low labor costs. Materials researchers, software specialists, production engineers and numerous users joined forces in the EU ORBITAL Project to jointly search for a cost-effective alternative. And found one.

Engineering that meets the most demanding requirements

Instead of conventional TIG-welding guns, a laser does the job – tube sheets and tubes are welded to one another rapidly, precisely and accurately. In seconds, the tube is circumferentially welded in place and the robotic arm transporting the welding head can move on to the next hole. The welding head is designed so it anchors itself in the holes and is seated there so firmly than not even vibrations of the shop floor can disrupt the welding process.
Precise guidance of the optical beam is handled by software-controlled mirrors that continuously direct it to the right location. Engineers and users from Italy, Spain, France, and Germany have been fine-tuning the process for two years. “The prototype we are exhibiting now at LASER 2013 facilitates the production of heat exchangers, and not just through its speed, but through its flexibility as well. It can even melt materials together that were considered difficult to weld until now,” according to Herwig, who was responsible for designing and testing the welding head during the EU project.

It is exactly these exotic combinations of materials that are needed by manufacturers of heat exchangers. They have to withstand extreme conditions in actual use. Heat exchangers are used in the chemical industry, ship engines, and power plants to remove heat from high-temperature, aggressive solutions of liquids. The tubing these liquids are passed through must therefore be corrosion-resistant.

However, the liquid in the tank outside the tubing that absorbs the heat is chemically inert. Cost-effective materials can be employed here. Where tank and tubing meet, differing materials must be joined. “Traditional welding techniques hit their limits here, whereas the job can be handled with the laser,” says Herwig. The researchers are confident that laser welding can be implemented so effectively in production that European companies remain competitive internationally.

PatrickHerwig | Fraunhofer-Institut
Further information:

Further reports about: Laser arc-welding technology laser system power plant welding process

More articles from Trade Fair News:

nachricht Modular safety concept increases flexibility in plant conversion
22.03.2018 | Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz GmbH, DFKI

nachricht Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions
21.03.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP

All articles from Trade Fair News >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Space observation with radar to secure Germany's space infrastructure

Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.

The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...

Im Focus: Researchers Discover New Anti-Cancer Protein

An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.

The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...

Im Focus: Researchers at Fraunhofer monitor re-entry of Chinese space station Tiangong-1

In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.

Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...

Im Focus: Alliance „OLED Licht Forum“ – Key partner for OLED lighting solutions

Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.

They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...

Im Focus: Mars' oceans formed early, possibly aided by massive volcanic eruptions

Oceans formed before Tharsis and evolved together, shaping climate history of Mars

A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Industry & Economy
Event News

New solar solutions for sustainable buildings and cities

23.03.2018 | Event News

Virtual reality conference comes to Reutlingen

19.03.2018 | Event News

Ultrafast Wireless and Chip Design at the DATE Conference in Dresden

16.03.2018 | Event News

Latest News

For graphite pellets, just add elbow grease

23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences

Unique communication strategy discovered in stem cell pathway controlling plant growth

23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Sharpening the X-ray view of the nanocosm

23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>