Method for defect-free hybrid laser-arc welding of closed circumferential welds
This paper presents investigation results of a process for defect-free hybrid laser arc welding (HLAW) of closed circumferential welds. The process aims to avoid weld imperfections in the overlap area of a HLAW circumferential weld. A process control strategy for closing the circumferential weld was developed to achieve a defect-free overlap region by controlling the solidification conditions at the end of the weld. The controlled heat flow is achieved by adjusting the parameters of both welding processes involved, the laser beam as well as gas metal arc welding (GMAW) process. Experimental investigations were carried out on 12 mm to 15 mm thick tube sections. The influence of process parameters such as the laser power ramp, the change in magnification scale and the defocusing of the laser beam on the solidification conditions at the end of the circumferential weld was investigated to find an optimum strategy for ramping out the process energy. Within the framework of the experimental studies, it was demonstrated that defocusing the laser beam in the range between 60 mm and 100 mm over a short run-out area of the weld of approximately 15 mm led to a significantly better weld formation in the overlap area. A favorable cup-shaped weld shape could be achieved without a tendency to crack. The laser optics with a motor-driven lens system made it possible to increase the laser beam diameter without changing the position of the GMAW arc relative to the component surface.