Hybrid-welding

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Hybrid-welding is a composite process.

It combines two different, independent heat sources to obtain a synergistic result.

Its characteristics are widely superior to those obtained when the processes are applied in succession.

Most common is the widely studied and applied Laser enhanced Arc welding.

Certain types of Laser sources are selected for their suitability to this purpose.

The simultaneous arc process is generally Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW or Mig), where a filler metal electrode, molten by an electric arc, is continuously fed into the weld.

The original idea of coupling a laser beam with gas metal arc welding (GMAW) took several decades to mature in successful applications.

The focal point of the laser beam impinging on the workpiece may not be exactly at the arc location, this being a quite critical parameter to test.

Hybrid-welding uses Synergy for best results

A Schematic Diagram of Laser Hybrid Welding can be seen at:
http://www.aws.org/wj/jan03/feature1.html

By now, the successfully integrated processes provide improved robustness, efficiency and quality of the Hybrid-welding process.

These characteristics make it a preferable high productivity process for suitable applications.

Originally, solid state lasers were of limited power, only gas lasers (CO2) were capable of supplying acceptable power levels for welding.

In recent years however continuous improvements in the available solid state lasers, and the possibility to convey the laser beam through optical fibers opened up and simplified robotic applications.

Large scale mechanized installations were successfully implemented.

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The main advantages of Laser Hybrid-welding are:

  • reducing distortion, as the total heat input is limited
  • accommodating welding from one side, avoiding the need and the considerable cost to overturn large panels
  • permitting a small, variable gap, inadmissible for laser only processes
  • assuring full penetration even in thick plates, not achievable with GMAW only
  • improving microstructure and properties, due to reduced heat input and filler metal control
  • reducing bevel angle and filler metal required,
  • increasing weld speed and filler metal deposition rate
  • increasing productivity, economy, seam quality and process reliability.

The main limitation slowing down progress until sufficient experience is accumulated, is that every application must be approached as a development project.

Sufficient time and resources must be dedicated to study systematically how to establish the process parameters to obtain acceptable results.

Although integrated off the shelf equipment can now be obtained from a list of suppliers, the learning curve is still long and expensive.

Therefore only large organizations capable of commanding the needed resources can enjoy the economy of scale in practical applications.

Automotive, large-scale pipe operations and shipbuilding industries are among the few applying successfully Hybrid-welding in highly standardized daily production.

A rich source of selected readings on Hybrid-welding is available in the Mid Month Bulletin 29 of our Practical Welding Letter for September 2008. Click on PWL#061B to see it.

It is quite probable that more and more applications will be developed for Hybrid-welding as productivity requirements grow and skilled workforce availability becomes an increasingly scarce resource.

Our Welding Resource PWL#061B - lists online Resources on Laser-Arc Hybrid Welding, Laser Assisted Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), Shipyards, One-Sided Welding, automotive industry, keyhole and more...

A NEW Welding Resource, listing Updated Links to Online Sources on Hybrid Laser Arc Welding, was recently added to our publications, with the Mid Month Bulletin 103. Click on this link to reach it.

An Article on Hybrid Induction Arc Welding was published (2) in Issue 138 of Practical Welding Letter for February 2015.
Click on PWL#138 to see it.

An Article on Tips on GMAW Guns was published (2) in Issue 162 of Practical Welding Letter for February 2017.
Click on PWL#162.

Watch the following GE Video on

Powerful High-Tech Laser Welding System

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4duiYnPlrRw

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To reach a Guide to the collection of the most important Articles from Past Issues of Practical Welding Letter, click on Welding Topics.

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