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Welding head for 'self guided' laser welding

: Regaard, B.; Kaierle, S.; Heinemann, S.; Patwa, R.; Steinbrecher, J.P.

Liu, X.:
28th International Congress on Applications of Lasers & Electro-Optics, ICALEO 2009. Congress proceedings. CD-ROM : November 2 - 5, 2009 - Orlando, FL; Laser Materials Processing Conference, Laser Microprocessing Conference, Nanomanufacturing Conference, poster presentation, gallery
Orlando, Fla.: LIA, 2009 (LIA 612 = 102)
ISBN: 978-0-912035-59-8
International Congress on Applications of Lasers & Electro Optics (ICALEO) <28, 2009, Orlando>
Laser Materials Processing Conference (LMP) <2009, Orlando/Fla.>
Laser Microprocessing Conference (LMF) <2009, Orlando/Fla.>
Nanomanufacturing Conference (Nano) <2009, Orlando/Fla.>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer ILT ()

Precise positioning of the laser beam on the work piece is crucial for high quality laser welds; e.g. for butt welding the focal point of the laser beam with respect to the joint must be maintained within an accuracy better than 20m - 150m, depending on the focused beam radius. These stringent accuracy requirements call for high precision robots, a repeatable work piece profile and precise clamping. To compensate for insufficient repeatability of work piece or clamping, seam-tracking devices are used. A sensor measures the joint position and computes a correction vector to follow the actual joint trajectory. The deviation is compensated either by robot trajectory adjustment or by an additional tracking axis. Disadvantages of this approach are complex installation of the devices due to interfacing with the robot control, the need of teaching and calibrating the sensor and principle based accuracy restriction that limit the usability in more complex 2d contours and with l ow accuracy robots. We recently introduced a more flexible and precise approach that utilizes an advanced camera-based sensor that is capable of measuring seam position, relative displacement between work piece and sensor and melt pool of the process with one single device. This paper describes a realized 'self guided' welding head, which uses this approach in combination with an integrated high power scanner. The result is a welding head that follows a curved or linear butt weld with high precision and independent of the actual robot trajectory; without the need of calibration, robot interfacing and alignment.