The industrial applications of high-power fibre optic lasers include welding, 2D and 3D cutting, remote cutting and welding, brazing and surface treatments. The availability of
fibre optic lasers with power outputs in excess of 10 kW might allow the development of novel fields of application in the welding of high thickness pieces: shipbuilding and offshore industries, pipe and cable manufacture and other heavy industry sectors. Carrying the beam by fibre optics
allows high flexibility, even for the production of very large pieces, such as in the shipbuilding sector. This study describes the laser welding of high thickness pieces using a 30 kW laser and a 200 μm diameter fibre. On the one hand, such lasers allow a weld penetration depth
of over 30 mm in a single pass, and very high process speeds for thinner materials on the other. Combining lasers with conventional arc welding techniques (hybrid welding) allows further optimization of weld quality and makes it possible to weld butt joints with a ‘gap’ of
up to 1 mm. This paper presents the most recent results from very high-power fibre optic laser welding along with new applications in the manufacturing sector.
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