Laserguided GMA welding
09/28/2006

Fig. 1: GMA welding without (left) and with (right) laser guidance and stabilization

The current trend towards lightweight construction using new materials – especially in automotive industry – demands for adapted and optimized joining technologies. The joining of higher and high-strength steels and magnesium is very promising, however is it only technically reasonable using laser beam welding at present. Traditional joining procedures often destroy the desired material properties, and the required stiffness of the welded joint is not achieved. Automated laser beam welding, however, is often too expensive due to high investment costs for the laser source and high demands on the clamping technology. Alternative concepts must be developed in particular for the repair and maintenance of longliving products.

Thus, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and industrial partners develop a joining technology for higher and high-strength steels that is suitable for SMEs. The new joining procedure is based on a gas metal arc welding process. A laser beam is used to control the working point of the arc. The process known as “laserguided and stabilized gas metal arc welding” (LGS-GMA welding) not only allows for a stable and high-quality joining process at high welding speeds, but also for a precise and flexible local guidance. Also the welding in pendular movements or of curved pieces as well as of joining geometries that are not well suited for unguided arcs are possible.

This novel LGS-GMA welding technology is being developed in a project entitled FUELAS, which aims at coupling the guidance of the arc with a reasonably priced laser source. With regard to product lifetime, this is particularly important for SMEs, because they normally take on repair work. It is projected to process conventional steels and aluminum materials, as well as to work on a broad industrial application of higher and high-strength steels.

The FUELAS project is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and The Project Management Agency Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (PTKA). Please visit www.fuelas.lzh.de for more information.

More information on the system can also be obtained at the EuroBlech trade fair in Hannover (October 24-28, 2006) at booth C 21 in hall 12.

Business Development & Communications Department
Michael Botts
Public Relations
Tel.: +49 511 2788-151
Fax: +49 511 2788-100
The Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) carries out research and development in the field of laser technology and is supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Transport of the State of Lower Saxony (Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Verkehr).