JK Lasers (part of the GSI group) have revealed the company's lasers have been used to weld beam-screen tubes at the core of the multi-billion Euro particle accelerator. Three companies in the UK have combined their technologies, skills and manufacturing expertise to produce some of the key components that comprise the LHC. Caparo Accles and Pollock weld one of the parts, using a JK Laser. The beam screen tubes positioned at the core of the collider, are welded in a purpose built, atmosphere and temperature controlled facility in Oldbury, UK.
The six parts that make up the beam screen tubes are precisely welded together by the manufacturers, using a pulsed YAG laser supplied by JK Lasers, based in Rugby. The highly controllable and accurate laser is capable of creating repeatable, strong hermetic joints. It also produces minimal heat input, causing no distortion to the part. To increase productivity, Caparo Accles and Pollock utilise the energy sharing capability of the laser, whereby two welding heads mounted on ABB robots can work from a single laser source and weld either side of the tube simultaneously. The automated process consists of the laser feeding two ABB robotic welding stations that are moved relative to a 17m static tube on a highly accurate track system.