Prima Power Laserdyne, which designs and manufactures a range of sheet-metal fabrication systems based on laser cutting technologies, reported it has made a significant investment over recent months to develop a new process and system capability for welding 2D and 3D components with high-power CW and QCW fiber lasers. “Metals and alloys for which these capabilities have been demonstrated include 304 stainless steel, titanium alloys (including Ti-6A1-4V and Ti-6Al-2Sn-4Zr-6Mo), and nickel-based high-temperature alloys, including Inconel 625, Inconel 718 and Hastelloy X,” reported Terry VanderWert, president of the Minnesota-based system developer.

“The availability of the high-power CW and QCW fiber laser with its kilowatt-level average power, 1 micrometer (µm) wavelength, and high brightness (beam quality) provides a laser source with new capability and flexibility.”

VanderWert detailed that, “compared to CO2 lasers for welding, it is well documented that the 1-µm wavelength of the fiber laser provides benefits in terms of simplified beam delivery, using fiber-optic cables instead of turning mirrors; greater absorption by metals, especially those which are good conductors of electricity such as aluminum and copper; and less absorption by the plasma plume that is formed above the weld pool.

He continued: “The higher brightness of the fiber laser compared to high-power Nd:YAG lasers means that the laser beam, if desirable, can be focused to smaller sizes — which, in turn, leads to increased power density.

“These factors contribute to deeper penetration and faster welding speed than available from previous sources of equivalent average power,” according to the executive. “They also mean more stable welding processes in a wider range of metals and alloys.”

While the Laserdyne® product line began with laser welding, the wide acceptance of the Laserdyne brand and technology is for laser cutting and drilling for aerospace applications. Over 33 years, the company now known as Prima Power Laserdyne has supplied welding systems based on CO2, Nd:YAG and more recently, fiber laser sources, for manufacturing applications in critical markets, like aerospace (engine and airframe), automotive, electronics, fluid couplings, and medical device applications.