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21 Sep, 2023, Company News

What is the maximum thickness of steel that can be laser welded?

What is the maximum thickness of steel that can be laser welded?

When it comes to laser welding, the maximum thickness of steel that can be effectively welded depends on various factors. These factors include the type of laser used, the power output of the laser, the beam quality, and the specific characteristics of the steel being welded.

Generally, laser welding is most commonly used for welding thin to medium thickness steel materials. It is particularly effective for materials with a thickness range of up to 8-12 millimeters. However, it is important to note that advancements in laser technology have enabled some laser systems to weld thicker steel materials.

High-power lasers with higher beam quality can achieve deeper penetration and provide better control over the laser welding process. This allows for the welding of thicker steel materials. In some cases, laser systems with power outputs exceeding 10 kilowatts can successfully weld steel materials with thicknesses ranging from 12 to 20 millimeters.

However, it is crucial to consider that as the thickness of the steel increases, the laser welding process becomes more challenging. Thicker materials require higher laser power, longer welding times, and careful control of parameters such as beam focus, speed, and heat input. Additionally, the joint design and preparation play a significant role in the successful welding of thick steel.

Joint designs that provide good access to the weld area, proper fit-up, and a suitable gap are essential for achieving high-quality welds in thick steel. Pre-weld preparation, such as cleaning the surfaces and removing any contaminants or oxides, is also crucial for ensuring successful welds. The use of filler materials may be necessary to achieve proper fusion and strength in thick steel welds.

Furthermore, the choice of laser welding technique can also influence the maximum thickness of steel that can be welded. For example, conduction mode laser welding is often preferred for thinner materials, while keyhole mode laser welding is more suitable for thicker materials. Keyhole mode welding creates a deep penetration weld by vaporizing the material with a high-power laser, creating a keyhole-shaped cavity that is filled with molten material.

It is worth noting that the maximum thickness of steel that can be laser welded may also depend on the specific requirements of the application. For some applications, the desired weld quality or appearance may require additional considerations and adjustments in the laser welding process. Post-weld treatments such as stress relieving or heat treatment can also be applied to improve the strength and integrity of the welds.

In conclusion, while laser welding is commonly used for thin to medium thickness steel materials, advancements in laser technology have expanded its capabilities to weld thicker steel materials. The maximum thickness that can be laser welded depends on factors such as the type of laser, its power output, beam quality, joint design, and the specific characteristics of the steel being welded. It is recommended to consult with laser welding experts or conduct feasibility studies to determine the maximum thickness that can be effectively welded for a specific application. Proper planning, parameter optimization, and skilled operators are essential for achieving successful laser welds in thick steel.

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