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Improvements of the welding performance of plasma arcs by a superimposed fibre laser beam

: Mahrle, A.; Rose, S.; Schnick, M.; Pinder, T.; Beyer, E.; Füssel, U.


Beyer, E. ; Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers -SPIE-, Bellingham/Wash.:
High power laser materials processing: Lasers, beam delivery, diagnostics, and applications : 24 - 26 January 2012, San Francisco, California, United States; Part of SPIE photonics west
Bellingham, WA: SPIE, 2012 (Proceedings of SPIE 8239)
ISBN: 978-0-8194-8882-4
Paper 82390D
Conference "High Power Laser Materials Processing - Lasers, Beam Delivery, Diagnostics, and Applications" <2012, San Francisco/Calif.>
Photonics West Conference <2012, San Francisco/Calif.>
Conference Paper
Fraunhofer IWS ()
arc guiding; arc stabilization; fiber laser welding; laser-assisted plasma arc welding; plasma arc welding

Details and results of experimental investigations of a laser-supported plasma arc welding process are presented. The particular feature of the realized experimental set-up is the coaxial arrangement of a single-mode fibre laser beam through a hollow tungsten electrode in combination with a modified plasma welding torch. The analysis of the welding capabilities of the combined laser-arc source comprises high-speed video recordings of the arc shape and size, corresponding simultaneous measurements of the arc voltage as well as an evaluation of the resultant weld seam geometries. Results of welding trials on different types of steel and aluminum alloys are discussed. The corresponding investigations reveal that a fibre laser beam with a wavelength of 1.07 microns can have a crucial impact on the arc and welding characteristics for both categories of materials even at very low laser power output levels. Beneficial effects are especially observed with high welding speeds. In that particular case the arc root and therefore arc column can be substantially stabilized and guided by the laser-induced hot spot.