Advantages and disadvantages of laser welding
Tuesday, April 26, 2022
Laser precision allows for better quality welds, faster throughput, reduced post-processing costs and access to new domains of application.
The main drawback of laser welding is the hefty price tag for the equipment. Our accurate measurement solutions help you maximize the ROI of this investment.
Let’s discuss about the main advantages and disadvantages of laser welding.
Welding, both traditional and laser-based, implies heat delivery at the junction between two surfaces. The melted metals mix and, after they’ve cooled, form a strong bond, effectively joining the two components together.
The problem with the traditional methods is that they do not deliver this heat only at the weld seam, but also in the surrounding material. The result is bending, stress, and other negative impacts on the material near the welds.
Lasers on the other hand, have enormous power density. In other words, they can deliver their heat extremely locally at the seam, leaving the surrounding materials in better condition.
Laser welds are extremely clean. Usually, they are so clean that they require no subsequent grinding, resulting in a significant reduction in post-processing costs.
Having such cosmetic welds also helps give the product a more premium look, giving a great first impression with products that are destined for end-users
Lasers can weld many times faster (up to 5 to 10 times faster!) than traditional methods. Even without considering the decrease in post-processing, it’s easy to understand that faster weld speeds mean a quicker turnaround time and increased productivity.
Laser welding is extremely versatile. Different laser setups can weld just about anything and everything: thick steel plates for the shipping industry, precious metals for jewelry, dissimilar metals like aluminum and steel, or the copper contacts on electric car batteries.
There have even been some successful attempts (though this is still experimental) to weld ceramics, a notoriously hard-to-weld class of materials.
All of these advantages come at a cost, literally. The initial acquisition cost of laser setups can easily be double or triple the cost of traditional systems.
However, the per-unit cost is lowered. If you have sufficiently high volumes, the investment pays dividends.
Precision being the trademark of laser welding comes with a bit of a drawback, because that precision means that bad workpiece fit-up will really harm the quality of the welding.
This decrease in gap-tolerance means you need to make sure your upstream processes/suppliers can reliably meet strict tolerance levels.
Let us know how you plan to use laser welding in the comment section below. We help customers all around the world from various industries measure their lasers. We can help you too! Our knowledgeable staff is always happy to discuss your specific application to help you make the right decision.