MediCom integrates laser beam shaping into laser welding system

LIMO has supplied a large number of industrial laser systems that MediCom integrates into its welding lasers.

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Since 2008, LIMO Lissotschenko Mikrooptik GmbH (Dortmund, Germany) has been supplying industrial and medical laser systems maker MediCom (Prague, Czech Republic) with industrial lasers that have proven effective in process-stable laser transmission welding for plastic fuel filter enclosures. From its inception in 1992, LIMO has ranked among the world's leading specialists for laser beam shaping.

"LIMO has been MediCom's key supplier of diode laser modules since the year 2000," says Michal Horáček, project manager for the Industrial Lasers Division at MediCom. The use of these components in laser systems for the medical industry went so well that, after eight years, the two sides expanded their business relationship to include the industrial sector.

Since then, LIMO has supplied a large number of industrial laser systems that MediCom integrates into its welding lasers. These systems comprise fiber-coupled 200W diode laser modules that feature an intelligent laser processing head and a sensor for noncontact temperature measurement, and have become the heart of MediCom's laser welding system. The systems are used by automotive suppliers to weld fuel filter enclosures, whose weld seams remain reliably sealed even where the plastic is exposed to extreme pressures (up to 30 bar). The laser weld makes it possible to weld automotive components made of glass fiber-reinforced plastic, where weld seams need to withstand pulse pressures of up to 65 bar over a temperature range of -40° to 125°C.

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MediCom describes the industrial laser systems from LIMO as the "heart" of its welding lasers, which are used by well-known automotive suppliers for the reliable production of pressure- and liquid-tight plastic fuel filter enclosures. (Image: MediCom)

A new intelligent laser processing head offering versatile beam geometry and intensity distribution and, thanks to a controlled, locally limited energy impact, ensures an ideal temperature distribution in the component. The new head can be used to produce diverse beam geometries and weld complex 3D contours. Because the beam shape is adapted to each individual application, both the quality and productivity of the assembly process can be increased. Process control integrated in the head is based on the synergy of precision pyrometric temperature measurement with laser output measurement and thus enables real-time control and diagnostics. This process control works across a very wide range of applications, including the contour or simultaneous welding of non-homogeneous plastics.

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These fuel filter enclosures are assembled using MediCom welding lasers, in which industrial laser systems with an intelligent laser processing head can also be adapted to complex 3D contours. (Image: MediCom)

For one large German automotive supplier, LIMO developed a laser head program that controls the process and monitors the welding operation. This system signals whether the individual welding operation—including all of the welding parameters—was "OK" or "not OK." Thanks to the closed-loop control system and fully in-line quality control, customers benefit from a stable and fast welding process, and also satisfy mandatory documentation requirements for safety components.

These applications demonstrate how a company in the laser industry was able to transform itself from a pure component manufacturer into a reliable process supplier that fills the role previously performed by general contractors. This process expertise is now being used in many different industries, such as temperature-controlled welding of endless plastic profiles with application-specific laser line distributions, non-porous and splashless joining of PC and PMMA plastic parts, and assembly of lightweight components made of composites (e.g., glass and carbon fiber-reinforced plastics).

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