Industrial Laser Solutions is the
leading media resource for laser
materials processing and
Industrial Laser Solutions
magazine, email newsletters
and website deliver unique,
unbiased, and in-depth technical
information about the
innovations and challenges
specifc to the industry.
Gap camera for laser
head positioning Pyrometer Weld seam evaluation camera
www.industrial-lasers.com SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 Industrial Laser Solutions 19
thanks to its simplified design for the pro-
cess. Most machine movements are per-
formed linearly and are position-controlled,
as encoders for all movements allow for
safe and fast positioning of the machine.
The exchanging time for the machine’s
top and bottom knife cassettes in the shear
is extremely short—they can be changed
in < 20 min. This is a result of a smart
machine design, with no additional equip-
ment needed inside the machine to allow
this quick-change procedure.
Selectable welding source. Thanks to
the modular design of the welding machine
and the consequent separation between
weld seam preparation and the welding
process itself, the welding source can be
easily replaced. This allows use of a conventional carbon dioxide (CO2) laser source
or a solid-state laser source.
The weld seam preparation with align-
ment, fine cutting, and joining of the
two strip ends is performed by separate
machine modules. Subsequently, the welding source is moved with a welding traversing unit along the joint between the two
strip ends. In doing so, the position and
traversing speed of the welding source
can be adjusted individually. This fulfills
an important condition for enabling other
welding sources to be used in the future.
Furthermore, various welding procedures
can be combined.
This extreme flexibility of the welding
machine guarantees that, for example,
hybrid laser beam welding for joining stainless steel strips can be used without having to carry out major revamps.
In former projects, SMS group installed
multikilowatt CO2 lasers—either 12kW
(TRUMPF) or 8kW (Rofin-Sinar). For this
latest project, the company will install a
solid-state laser for the first time—a 10k W
fiber laser (IPG Photonics). When com-
pared to a conventional CO2 laser, the laser
beam is generated in a resonator with a
laser-active fiber. Thanks to its high wall-plug efficiency and almost no power con-
sumption in stand-by mode, operating
costs will decrease up to 90%.
With a solid-state laser, it is possible to
save or even avoid process gas (for example, helium), and reduce the maintenance
effort. An excellent feature of the system
is its simple modular structure, which is
almost maintenance-free. What’s more,
solid-state lasers come with a compact
design and small footprint with a flexible
process laser fiber, enabling plant con-
cepts to be kept simple.
The solid-state laser process is rougher
and more turbulent in comparison to a conventional CO2 laser source with process
stability, especially on thicker grades above
FIGURE 6. The welding machine’s quality assurance system enables automatic weld