Robot-guided remote welding: fast and flexible welding from a distance
09/16/2005

Fig. 1: Schematic presentation of remote welding

The term “remote welding” stands for fast and flexible laser welding. Here, the laser beam is guided by a mirror system in the scanner head. Because the mass in the scanner head that must be moved is very low, the laser beam can be positioned at hundredfold the welding speed. When the scanner head is moved by a standard industry robot, large areas can be processed with a lot of flexibility of movement, and workpieces can be processed very flexibly. Remote welding is particularly interesting to companies who already use laser welding technology, because it maximizes the power-on time of the cost-intensive laser system and thus increases its productivity.

In co-operation with partners from laser, plant construction and optical metrology industry, the Laser Zentrum Hannover (LZH) has put robot-guided remote welding from theory into practice. The overall aim of this BMBF-funded research project (Federal Ministry of Education and Research) was to develop a flexible and sturdy system for robot-guided remote welding considering all manufacturing-relevant aspects. A prototype system was set up during the project.

Several important aspects had to be considered for this new welding process. Processing large workpiece areas from a relatively high distance makes extreme demands on the quality of the laser beam, because small focus diameters must be achieved a high focal length. Thanks to a newly-developed high-power disc laser, the beam quality could be improved so that a 25 times larger area (500 x 500 mm) than with conventional solid-state lasers can be processed.

This versatile remote welding system is mainly adapted to the demands of two different fields of application: automobile industry and domestic appliance production, the so-called “white goods”. Not only is the welding process much faster because the scanner-guided laser beam is at a safe distance, but the system is less susceptible to contamination, disturbances or collisions. In the next step, the system will be further developed into a market-ready serial product that is easy to handle, user-friendly and comprises additional sensorics.

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).