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Research to cut cost of laser welding metal sheets


With improved performance and cost-cutting being key objectives, the further development of thick metal sheet welding is a particular interest of shipbuilding and other maritime engineering industries.


Now Laser Zentrum Hannover (LZH) together with companies Held Systems Deutschland, Laserline and Meyer Werft, now wants to establish robust, pure laser welding processes for steel sheets up to 30 mm thick. For this purpose, diode laser beam sources will need to be brought to peak performance, say the partners.


LZH comments that the processes for joining maritime steel components “have a great development potential in terms of production costs and productivity”: the frequently used submerged arc welding is comparatively slow and involves significant workpiece distortion. Laser-arc hybrid welding, as an alternative process, requires labor-intensive edge preparation and is not very flexible.

 laser welding

Particularly for large steel sheet thicknesses in the range of 12 millimeters to 30 millimeters, no method has so far been able to prevail against submerged arc welding. The scientists at the LZH now want to change this together with the three industrial partners.


Pure laser welding

The scientists want to develop robust, pure laser welding processes, especially for thick metal sheet welding in the maritime sector. For this purpose, the project partner Laserline will realize new diode laser beam sources with a maximum output laser power of up to 60 KW in continuous-wave mode. The aim of the project is to achieve high-quality joints with high welding speeds.

 metal welding


The partners want to reduce the costs for edge preparation and the amount of additional material compared to existing joining methods. In that way, the costs shall be reduced eventually.

The new processes shall complement or even replace the existing ones. The application-oriented development takes place in parallel in a laser laboratory and in a shipyard-like test environment. This makes it possible to quickly test, evaluate and optimize processes.

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