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Coherent and II-VI join forces on remote laser welding

22 Dec 2020

Two of the world’s largest providers of lasers and photonics equipment agree a collaborative supply deal.

II-VI and Coherent have agreed a new supply arrangement that they believe will support faster process development and streamlined production services for automotive laser welding applications.

With a focus on high-strength alloy welding for automotive “body-in-white” applications and mass production copper welding for electric vehicle batteries, the agreement specifically involves a combination of II-VI’s laser processing heads and Coherent’s adjustable ring mode (ARM) fiber lasers.

Together, they are said to deliver power adjustment and beam positioning on the fly to optimize high-quality welds at high speed and over large working areas - thus decreasing overall cost of ownership.

Remote welding
“As part of this collaboration, Coherent will provide customers with the convenience of a single point of contact throughout the development and deployment of welding sub-systems combining the Coherent ARM fiber lasers and the II-VI RLSK and HIGHmotion 2D remote laser processing heads,” announced the two firms.

They claim that the “Industry 4.0 ready” technology will deliver an optimized, integrated solution with superior service to ensure maximum productivity on manufacturing lines.

“System builders will get the best of both companies’ advanced technologies, with the logistical simplicity of a single source,” said Jarno Kangastupa, managing director of Coherent’s high-power fiber lasers business unit.

“The advanced optics and smart software of II-VI’s laser processing heads enable customers to fully leverage the Coherent ARM laser with unique ability to control, in real time, the laser beam shape and power distribution with great precision and over a wide dynamic range, delivering the state-of-the-art in remote laser welding.”

Reflective materials
Karlheinz Gulden, senior VP of II-VI’s laser devices and systems division, added: “The Coherent ARM laser and the II-VI remote laser processing heads each utilize unique designs that are very effective in suppressing back reflections, thus enabling extremely high-quality welds in reflective materials such as aluminum and copper, which are nowadays widely used in automotive, including in e-mobility applications.”

The combination is said to enable a constant laser power level of up to 8 kW, while the II-VI processing heads include a vision-controlled beam positioning system and are said to be capable of rapid scanning at workpiece distances of up to 64 cm, over an area as large as 20 x 30 cm.

“Remote laser welding has been proven to deliver an order of magnitude increase in processing speed compared with spot welding, while maintaining a highly consistent depth of penetration and fine spatial resolution,” stated the two firms.

The processing heads with seam tracking are also said to enable reliable so-called “fillet” welds. Compared with conventional overlap welds, these yield greater flexibility in design, both saving on materials and producing more lightweight parts.

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