Rofin has released its Remote Welding System (RWS), which is a laser system mounted above the working area, on a gantry, with the laser beam being delivered to the working area below by a series of mirrors. The complete system is enclosed by perimeter safety guarding allowing for safe and easy operation.
Depending upon the application being considered, the system can incorporate one of a range of CO2 slab lasers available from Rofin. One option available is the Rofin DC 060W, a CO2 Slab laser with an average output power of 6kW and beam quality factor of K≥0.9. This laser can produce a spot diameter of 600µm for the longest focal length offered of 1,600mm. The nearly perfectly Gaussian beam of the Rofin slab laser gives a depth of focus measured in tens of millimetres and the effective working envelope of the RWS has now been increased to 1,500 × 2,000mm, driven by the need to enhance application flexibility. Placing the beam-steering mirror on an independent high-speed linear-motor driven axis further extends the overall travel of the focusing lens thus further increasing the working envelope in the Y axis. This ability to determine the position of the beam steering mirror provides even greater flexibility for the operator when programming around clamping fixtures and part tooling.
The high powered motion motors, together with increased processing power in the motion controls, now gives typical indexing times of less than 50ms between weld stitches. This improved performance is further augmented by the high power available, up to 6kW in the case of the DC 060W, with this combination producing the highest welding speeds to date.
The rapid traverse motion between individual processing points, described as rapid move, sets new standards with regard to speed of operation in multiple spot weld applications. The high speed capabilities of the RWS enable a considerable reduction in cycle times when compared to traditional methods of spot welding. The rapid move concept also improves machine availability and process optimisation. With the capability to operate continuously on a three shift pattern, approximately 20 million welding cycles equating to more than 300km of weld joint, can be generated without replacing any of the typical system wear parts. Traditional spot welding processes which use multiple axes and multiple spot welding guns cannot achieve these levels of efficiency and speed.
The concept of mounting the laser source on a gantry above the work area means that the system occupies the minimum of floor space while providing a large processing area. This concept is ideally suited to applications within the automotive industry where large 'body in white' components can be easily processed within the system.
The demanding nature of the automotive industry in particular is well known, and Rofin CO2 slab lasers already have a history of operating within this environment 24 hours per day and seven days per week. The reliability and low maintenance characteristics of these lasers ensure high uptimes and predictable performance.