Welding with Light
No sooner had humankind figured out how to fabricate parts out of metal than someone said, “Hey, wouldn’t it be neat if we could put these two things together to make something bigger?” The process of laser welding soon followed, involving both hammering two workpieces together to join them as well as heating the edges of pieces of metal to melt them together. The process of arc welding was developed in the late 1800s and has dominated the world of welding ever since, with arc technology used in MIG welding, TIG welding, and other common processes.
Unlike soldering, which uses a metal with a lower melting point as a binder to hold other pieces of metal together, welding uses a heat source that has a sufficient temperature to melt the workpiece itself. Therefore, when laser technology was developed for use in fabrication to cut through metal with a precision beam of light, methods were investigated to also use it to fuse metal back together. The advent of fiber laser technology using fiber optic cables to channel the beam opened the way for fabrication lasers to be very portable and repositionable, something necessary in welding operations.
Revolution Machine Tools, a leader in the metal fabrication machine market, has partnered with IPG Photonics to offer their customers an easy and efficient way of welding the parts they cut and fabricate with their other RMT machines. The LightWELD line of fiber laser welders from IPG Photonics offers faster welding than traditional techniques, and the smaller, more precise welds they produce make them the ideal welding machines for use on thin parts.
Fiber Laser Welders Available from RMT
Revolution Machine Tools offers the full lineup of LightWELD handheld laser welding and cleaning systems: the affordable LightWELD 1500, the more robust LightWELD XC, and the powerhouse LightWELD XR. These easy to learn and operate machines consistently produce high-quality welds on a wide range of metals of different thicknesses.
- LightWELD 1500 is a cost-effective solution that can weld up to about 5/32″ (4 mm or 0.157″) of mild steel, stainless steel, galvanized steel, aluminum 3 series, and aluminum 5 series. Unlike its bigger brothers, the 1500 doesn’t have any cleaning capability, but it can be paired with a wire feeder.
- LightWELD XC has the same high-quality capabilities of the 1500—welding mild steel, stainless steel, galvanized steel, aluminum 3 series, and aluminum 5 series up to about 5/32″ (4 mm or 0.157″). In addition, it provides pre-weld cleaning and post-weld cleaning capabilities.
- LightWELD XR delivers the power to weld 1/4″ (6.35 mm) mild steel, stainless steel, galvanized steel, aluminum 3 series, and aluminum 5 series. It can also weld titanium and nickel alloy to a thickness of over 3/16″ (5 mm or 0.197″), nearly 1/8″ (3.0 mm or 0.118″) of aluminum 6 series, and copper to nearly 5/64″ (2 mm or 0.079″). It includes the added functionality of pre-weld and post-weld cleaning. Its built-in presets ensure the proper laser settings for consistent high-quality welds regardless of the operator’s skill level.
All three models offer a wire welding capability, which allows the welding of poorly fit-up parts. They also have a built-in wobble welding function to accommodate wider seams to just over 3/16″ wide (5 mm or 0.197″).
The LightWELD XC and LightWELD XR models offer the additional capabilities of pre-weld and post weld laser cleaning, providing 2500 W high-frequency peak power for those functions. The scan width of pre-weld and post-weld cleaning is over half an inch (up to 15 mm or 0.591″).
Pre-weld cleaning burns away any debris or contaminants that could enter the weld pool and create defects, such as increased porosity. Removing grease, oil, paint, rust, and oxides from the welding surface using the pre-weld cleaning function of the XC and XR machines improves the quality of the welds.
All welding processes can leave behind soot and new debris, as well as visual evidence of localized heating. A final post-weld cleaning pass removes those physical artifacts without any manual post processing needed to create visually appealing welds.
Call RMT Today to Learn More About LightWELD Products
With this new addition to their already massive portfolio of metalworking machines, Revolution Machine Tools continues their mission to serve their fabrication customers to the very best of their ability.
Talk to an RMT machinery consultant today to learn how LightWELD welders from IPG Photonics can improve the productivity of your shop and specific circumstances. Among other things, the RMT rep will share facts about the speed of these machines (up to four times faster travel speed than traditional methods), the ease of learning them (new users can make high-quality welds after just a few hours of training), and their amazing duty cycles (they can be run at 100% duty cycle at the maximum 1500 watts of laser power).
No matter your metal fabrication needs, Revolution Machine Tools can provide you with the perfect solutions to cut, bend, roll, fabricate, and (now) weld your metal.