Laser Hybrid Welding for Automotive Lighting
For tail lamp assemblies, hybrid welding is the answer
Laser plastic welding is well established in the automotive industry. It provides economic advantages and a quality and smoothness that traditional techniques cannot match.
The technology comes to the fore in automotive lighting which is as much dictated by design as by functionality. Exterior lighting, particularly tail lamps, has become a focal point of car design with large, curving free-form shapes being very much to the fore. With traditional welding and assembly methods, engineers and designers are faced with a constant battle of limitations. However, with laser plastic welding, particularly hybrid welding, the sky is very nearly the limit in terms of both design freedom and economics!
Ideal for Large 3D Components
The transmission welding technique is at the core of laser plastic welding. Until recently there were three main transmission methods – Contact Welding, Simultaneous Welding and Quasi-Simultaneous Welding. Hybrid Welding joins these as a fourth option: one that is ideal for double and complex curves as well as improving cycle time and joint quality.
Hybrid Welding combines the advantages of a laser with those of a secondary heat source – specifically a halogen assisted light source to generate a broad-band emission spectrum. The material is first warmed up slowly then melted by the laser beam. It’s then cooled down slowly under the influence of the halogen emitter. This additional heat source speeds up welding and prevents stresses in the material. Compared to regular Contact Welding, Hybrid Welding is:
- Faster (80nm/s versus 50nm/s)
- Reduces annealing time (much of this takes place during the weld)
- Less stress (greater durability)
- Better gap bridging
- Higher process flexibility
In addition, with Hybrid Laser Welding, there is less scrap because the thermal energy is precisely controlled and so reduces thermal shock.
The Laser Hybrid Welding process has been patented by TLM Laser’s product partners, LPKF. In addition to their Hybrid Welding systems, LPKF assemble the complete welding head onto a multi-axis robot to give the system an extremely high level of flexibility.
For more details of the Hybrid Welding process and/or LPKF’s laser welding systems, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org