Will Handheld Laser Welding Replace Argon Arc Welding?

Laser processing and manufacturing has developed rapidly in the past decade.

One of the important manifestations driving market growth is that laser replaces traditional technology.

From the previous silk screen printing and knife engraving to today’s laser marking and engraving, from the previous punch and blade cutting to today’s laser cutting, from the traditional chemical agent and pickling to today’s laser cleaning, all are major changes in technology.

On the basis of environmental protection and green manufacturing, making the process more efficient, greater output and more beautiful process effect is not only the technological progress brought by laser, but also an inevitable trend of industrial technology development.

traditional grinding wheel cutting have been replaced by laser cutting

Many of the traditional grinding wheel cutting have been replaced by laser cutting

Rapid rise of handheld laser welding

In terms of welding, there has also been the replacement of process, from ordinary electric welding and arc welding to laser welding.

Laser welding based on metal materials is the most important application at present.

The development of laser welding in China has been nearly 30 years, but the previous low-power YAG laser welding machine is often operated in a single machine, with a slightly lower degree of automation, manual loading and unloading, low power, small worktable format and difficult to operate large parts, resulting in the inability to spread the application of laser welding.

In recent years, laser welding has made great progress, especially the application of fiber laser welding and semiconductor laser welding.

It has also been well developed in workpiece fixture, automatic control and automatic loading and unloading.

At present, some automobile factories have been equipped with high-end automatic laser brazing  system. In addition, it is also used in aviation parts, locomotive body of CRRC, etc.

Another very important thing is the power battery laser welding of new energy vehicles.

These are the embodiment of high-end applications of laser welding.

At the end of 2018, handheld laser welding began to sell well, thanks to the sharp decline in the cost of fiber laser and the maturity of fiber transmission and handheld welding joint technology.

The popularity of handheld laser welding is also unexpected for some manufacturers, but many enterprises follow up production in 2019.

It is roughly estimated that hundreds of enterprises have made handheld laser welding machines.

The reason why handheld laser welding can be popularized rapidly is that it is convenient and easy to use.

Compared with the application of high-end automatic laser welding, it has high requirements and technical threshold in all aspects.

Hand held laser welding eliminates the consideration of fixture and motion control and returns to manual operation. The so-called workpiece alignment and alignment clamping depend on hands.

It cannot be said that this is a retrogression from automation to manual operation, which should be considered from the actual application cost and acceptance.

Take stainless steel welding as an example.

At present, there are a large number of welding processes in reality, most of which are ordinary argon arc welding and spot welding.

After so many years of development, manual operation is still widely used, and there are a large number of such welders.

Argon arc welding is widely used in kitchenware, kitchen supplies, bathroom hardware, stainless steel doors and windows, anti-theft net, stainless steel furniture, hotel decoration and other industries with a large amount of stainless steel.

In terms of welding nature, this manual welding is actually a traditional low-end welding process. Generally, it is used to weld thinner stainless steel sheets and stainless steel pipes.

Now only the electric arc welding is replaced by laser welding, which is very similar in operation. Ordinary welders can operate hand-held laser welding in less than half a day’s training, so it has very high potential to replace the traditional argon arc welding.

Conventional argon arc welding operation

Conventional argon arc welding operation

It is a trend that laser welding replaces argon arc welding.

Argon arc welding often needs welding wire to melt and connect, resulting in protruding welding interface, while laser welding does not need welding wire, and the interface is relatively smooth.

Argon arc welding has been developed for many years and is the largest welding process in stock. Laser welding is a new process with rapid development, but it is only a small part of welding in total.

It is an inevitable trend for laser welding to replace part of argon arc welding.

At present, argon arc welding is also very popular in terms of use cost.

At present, a welding machine for argon arc welding can be bought for thousands of yuan, and the cheap one may only cost more than 2000 yuan.

In addition, the supporting products such as small welding gun, welding wire and argon are less than 1000 yuan, and the cost of a complete set is about 3000 yuan.

The hand-held laser welding equipment was more than 150000 yuan per unit in early 2019.

Later, the competition gradually intensified, and the manufacturers of hand-held welding also increased a lot. They can buy it at 60000 yuan (1 kW) today.

Handheld laser welding is faster

Handheld laser welding is faster

In order to save labor and materials, argon arc welding only selects the fixed position at the corners of the material for spot welding, while laser welding is zipper welding along the seam.

In contrast, the firmness of laser welding is much better.

At present, 500 watts, 1000 watts, 1500 watts or even 2000 Watts are common in handheld laser welding.

These power segments are enough for the welding of thin plates and steel sheets.

Nowadays, handheld laser welding equipment is becoming more and more compact, including the necessary chillers, which can be integrated into the whole chassis to achieve integration.

It has good movable performance and much lower procurement cost than before.

It can meet the use requirements of a large number of metal processing stores and processing plants, and even drag the equipment to the construction site for on-site operation.

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