An Insight into Laser Welding Integration

Cyan Tec have an enviable reputation when it comes to the integration of industrial laser systems, particularly in the design and manufacture of cutting and welding equipment. The latter has been a focus of late, with a large-scale project finalised for a well-regarded UK manufacturer. A key focus area for this project was the dedicated tooling, used for the clamping and presentation of the component parts. Working alongside the client, Cyan Tec produced a bespoke suite of fixtures that meet the specification of requirements and ensure a reliable process flow.

The machine was provided with an ABB IRB 6700 six axis robot, designed to reliably deliver the laser welding head to the component part, located within the aforementioned laser welding tooling. Due to the size of the components being processed by the system, the robot was fitted to an ABB IRBT motion system, effectively giving the robot a seventh axis. The robot and seventh axis were programmed by Cyan Tec’s skilled engineers to effectively run a range of component parts.

In addition to the robot and track, a 4kW Trumpf laser source was integrated, along with the required laser processing head. Following trials with the client’s components, Trumpf’s laser offering was deemed the most suitable, and ultimately underpins the success of the entire manufacturing solution.

Another feature of the machine is the shuttle system at the front of the machine. As requested by the customer, the system is manually loaded, clamped, and pushed inside the enclosure. The dual shuttle system means that one component can be laser welded, while the other shuttle is being loaded / unloaded. A number of Cyan Tec’s modular laser systems are also designed with this functionality to meet the customers cycle time requirements.

A key element in laser welding integration is the specification, supply, and delivery of the ancillary components, such as the cooling and extraction systems.

Typically, the laser source and laser processing heads are water cooled, therefore there is a requirement for a chiller. Although some laser manufacturers provide chillers as part of their supply, integrators are often required to provide a third-party cooling system and the specification of this is crucial for the protection of high-value equipment.

The extraction system is equally as important and is often a requirement for end users. The removal of laser fumes from the enclosed area as well as the filtration of such fumes before being released to atmosphere is deemed significant. The ancillary requirements such as cooling and extraction systems prove that having previous experience in integrating industrial lasers is more often than not crucial to an integrator delivering a successful automated solution.  

Additionally, the gas control is crucial to the laser welding process. Cyan Tec provided the machine with a mass flow controller, specifically designed to accurately control the assist gas from the top and bottom of the part through the component fixtures.

The laser welding process is performed within a class 1 laser enclosure, designed, and manufactured by Cyan Tec specific to each application. Depending on a number of variables such as laser power and the laser beam delivery optics, either an active or passive guard system will be provided by Cyan Tec. The design of all laser enclosures both ensure that no light can escape the cell and prevent anybody entering the laser processing area during machine operation.

In addition to bespoke laser cells like the one described above, Cyan Tec can also offer modular laser machines, which offer customers a range of laser welding and cutting solutions based around a standard platform.