Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Laser welding as an engine of innovation

Date:
April 29, 2013
Source:
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Summary:
Can lasers perform welds precisely and reliably in the midst of thundering machinery? The prototype of a new laser welder has now withstood the worst.

Can lasers perform welds precisely and reliably in the midst of thundering machinery? The prototype of a new laser welder developed by an international team of researchers has now withstood the worst. At INTEGASA and ENSA, two companies in Spain that produce heat exchangers for heavy industry, the prototype proved itself precise and reliable under the difficult conditions of routine daily use.

"Manufacturers of heat exchangers were skeptical of laser anything until now," confirms Patrick Herwig from the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS in Dresden. TIG-welding guns have traditionally been employed in assembly operations for welding thousands of tubes to the perforated tube sheets. This process, which is based on arc-welding technology, is very time-intensive however. The gun must be manually inserted into every hole and removed again after welding. As a result, the fabrication process is tedious, prolonged, and expensive. European manufacturers can hardly hold their ground today against competition from countries with low labor costs. Materials researchers, software specialists, production engineers and numerous users joined forces in the EU ORBITAL Project to jointly search for a cost-effective alternative. And found one.

Engineering that meets the most demanding requirements Instead of conventional TIG-welding guns, a laser does the job -- tube sheets and tubes are welded to one another rapidly, precisely and accurately. In seconds, the tube is circumferentially welded in place and the robotic arm transporting the welding head can move on to the next hole. The welding head is designed so it anchors itself in the holes and is seated there so firmly than not even vibrations of the shop floor can disrupt the welding process. Precise guidance of the optical beam is handled by software-controlled mirrors that continuously direct it to the right location. Engineers and users from Italy, Spain, France, and Germany have been fine-tuning the process for two years. "The prototype we are exhibiting now at LASER 2013 facilitates the production of heat exchangers, and not just through its speed, but through its flexibility as well. It can even melt materials together that were considered difficult to weld until now," according to Herwig, who was responsible for designing and testing the welding head during the EU project.

It is exactly these exotic combinations of materials that are needed by manufacturers of heat exchangers. They have to withstand extreme conditions in actual use. Heat exchangers are used in the chemical industry, ship engines, and power plants to remove heat from high-temperature, aggressive solutions of liquids. The tubing these liquids are passed through must therefore be corrosion-resistant. However, the liquid in the tank outside the tubing that absorbs the heat is chemically inert. Cost-effective materials can be employed here. Where tank and tubing meet, differing materials must be joined. "Traditional welding techniques hit their limits here, whereas the job can be handled with the laser," says Herwig. The researchers are confident that laser welding can be implemented so effectively in production that European companies remain competitive internationally.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Laser welding as an engine of innovation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130429095048.htm>.
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. (2013, April 29). Laser welding as an engine of innovation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130429095048.htm
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft. "Laser welding as an engine of innovation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130429095048.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

What This MIT Sensor Could Mean For The Future Of Robotics

What This MIT Sensor Could Mean For The Future Of Robotics

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) MIT researchers developed a light-based sensor that gives robots 100 times the sensitivity of a human finger, allowing for "unprecedented dexterity." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The MIT BioSuit could be an alternative to big, bulky traditional spacesuits, but the concept needs some work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

New Music With Recycled Instruments at Colombia Fest

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Jars, bottles, caps and even a pizza box, recovered from the trash, were the elements used by four musical groups at the "RSFEST2014 Sonorities Recycling Festival", in Colombian city of Cali. Duration: 00:49 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

Virtual Reality Headsets Unveiled at Tokyo Game Show

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Several companies unveiled virtual reality headsets at the Tokyo Game Show, Asia's largest digital entertainment exhibition. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins