Laser welding flexible plastics

May 7, 2013
Jenoptik has integrated a freely programmable, in sections on/off switchable diode laser line for more efficient processing of plastic components.

Jena, Germany - Modern laser technology keeps opening up new fields of application in laser material processing. In the fields of laser cutting, laser welding, and perforating of plastic materials, it is already an established and recognized processing method, e.g., in automotive and supply industries. Besides the design requirements, an increasing amount of components in the vehicle interior and rising safety demands permanently put automotive manufacturers in front of new challenges. New design and production possibilities for vehicle interiors, based on these requirements can be realized using laser technology, made by Jenoptik, a provider of laser technology.

One of Jenoptik's latest developments is the JENOPTIK-VOTAN W machine for efficient welding of plastic components. The most common method for welding plastic materials is laser transmission welding.

Using Jenoptik's innovative diode lasers, the company’s business unit, Laser Processing Systems, has further developed this laser welding process by integrating a freely programmable, in sections on/off switchable diode laser line for even more efficient processing of plastic components. Through the application of this new contactless joining technology, no mechanical impact on the welded parts occurs. As a result, faster production of high quality parts, combined with low operating costs, becomes possible.

The switchable laser line consists of eight diode laser submounts in a compact housing and generates a laser line of ~100 mm in total length. Each submount can be switched on and off individually according to the defined welding contour. Through the alignment of several laser lines to one line, the so-called laser diode nest, almost all component sizes can be welded in one step.

During the process, the laser diode nest is moved across the welding area via a linear axis. In this way, in addition to small components, a contactless laser processing of the parts with the dimensions exceeding the normal scan field of a scanning system is possible, e.g., in the automotive industry, the welding of airbag chute channels on the instrument panels or big car body parts, and in the electrical appliance industry, the processing of heat exchangers in dishwashers. Moreover, through almost 100 percent process control, the system is well suited for the manufacturing of safety-relevant components. During the welding, an online control system for quality assurance examines the temperature in the welding area via pyrometer and camera.

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Photo source: JENOPTIK AG

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