23 Apr 2014
Votan-W enables non-contact laser welding; showing from today at leading Asian industry expo.Jenoptik’s Lasers & Material Processing division is demonstrating its Votan W series system, designed for laser welding such as for polymers and plastics, at Chinaplas, Shanghai, Asia’s leading plastics and rubber trade fair, which runs from today for four days.
Laser processing is an increasingly recognised practice in the fields of plastics cutting, welding and perforating, for example in the automotive and supply industries, says Jenoptik. A significant and growing market for this technology is vehicle interior equipment - "such parts can reliably be mastered by using the Jenoptik-Votan W system."
In order to broaden the field of application of transmission welding, Jenoptik has developed a welding process involving a laser line that can be switched on and off in sections. This novel process has successfully been applied in the industry several times already.
The non-contact joining method without any mechanical and thermal influence is not the only benefit of this new technology. It can also achieve high productivity for comparatively low operating costs, the company claims. This innovative method is applied in the transmission welding of large plastic components, such as for the welding of chute channels in instrument panels, welding of interior/exterior trim parts or heat exchangers in dishwashers.
Multiple diode laser line
The newly-developed laser welding technique employs Jenoptik diode lasers with a width of 10mm and an optical laser power of up to 100W per submount for the standard wavelengths of 808, 940 and 980nm. The diode laser line that can be switched on and off in sections, comprises eight diode laser submounts in a compact housing and generates a line of about 100 mm in overall length.
Each submount can be switched on and off individually, based on the contour required to be welded and thus produce almost any welding geometry. By combining several diode laser lines into a single overall line, the so-called "diode nest", various component sizes can be welded in a highly productive way during a single passage – up to an area of 1.5m x 0.6m.
“Because almost every line width is possible, we are able to flexibly meet our customer’s requirements with our laser welding machine Jenoptik-Votan W”, says Andreas Buechel, product manager at Jenoptik's Lasers & Material Processing division.
Inside the laser welding machine, the diode nest moves along a linear axis, across the components to be joined, and welds them to each other without leaving any marks (called sinks) on the top surface or causing any thermal distortion – at welding speeds of up to 100 mm/s. In order to ensure a constant weld quality, the welding process is subjected to online process control for quality assurance. When directly comparing this to alternative joining technologies, the strengths (pulling forces) of the welded joint in the boundary area and of the cover are 25% higher on average.
About the Author
Matthew Peach is a contributing editor to optics.org.