Beam Welding is a technique in manufacturing whereby two or more pieces of
material (usually metal) are joined by together through use of a laser beam.
The laser beam is a coherent (single phase) light of a single wavelength
(monochromatic). The laser beam has low beam divergence and high energy content
and thus will create heat when is strikes a surface.
There are two primary types of lasers used in welding and cutting:
Gas lasers (CO2 type)
Solid state lasers (Nd:YAG type)
CO2 lasers use a mixture of high purity carbon dioxide with helium and
nitrogen as the lasing medium. Here are some of the key characteristics for CO2
lasers: Infrared (10.6 micro-meters); Beam transmission by mirror only (not
fiber optic); Cutting lasers are typically from 0.5 to 2 kw; Difficulties in
cutting/welding reflective materials (e.g., Aluminum or copper); Can cut
non-metallic materials; High cutting speed possible.
Nd:YAG lasers use a solid bar of yttrium aluminum garnet doped with
neodymium as the lasing medium. Here are some of the key charateristics for
Infrared (1.06 micro-metres)
Beam transmission by optical fiber possible
Available to 2 kw
Wavelength absorbed well by metallic materials (including Al & Cu)
Not suitable for cutting non-metallic materials
Good for fine work, but cutting speeds are generally lower than CO2
Both CO2 and Nd:YAG lasers can operate in either continuous or pulsed