C-gunPickerHand-held

Laser Seam Steppers

Automatic C-gun and Picker, and Hand Held System

IPG’s C-Gun, Picker and Hand Held Seam Steppers combine clamping with a laser welding tool (max. 4 kW) and are typically used as a replacement for resistance spot welding. They provide numerous benefits including adjustable clamping force up to 3 kN, improved workpiece strength and stiffness, faster process speed and no need for expensive laser safety cabinets. Laser Seam Steppers weld a laser wobble seam up to 40 mm in length in half the cycle time of traditional technology. They can also be used on a wide variety of materials including hot-formed materials. With an online monitoring and beam switch or interlocking power supply safety system, C-Gun and Picker Laser Seam Steppers can be qualified as Class 1* Laser devices.

*Integrator must provide an interlocking guard to create a minimum safety distance of 1 meter.

3D

C-Gun Lasers Seam Steppers are qualified as Class 1 Laser devices (minimum safety distance of 1 meter must be provided by an interlocking guard). The LSS-2 system features online monitoring and beam switch safety system. Compact and efficient, the stepper head weighs only 45 kg, saves compressed air and operates at ≤72 dB noise level. The C-Gun LSS systems are offered in two configurations: laser power up to 2 kW (controller with integrated chiller) and laser power up to 4 kW (stand-alone chiller).

Features

Laser Welding with Simple Clamping Technology Class 1 Laser Capable System*
Power up to 4 kW Wall-plug Efficiency >30%
Reduced Processing Time Air- or Water-cooled Operation
Repeatable Processing with Multi-layer Sheet Joining Compact Laser and C-gun Control in a Single Housing
Higher Joint Strength and Rigidity Programmable Clamping for Long-term Repeatability 

*Integrator must provide an interlocking guard to create a minimum safety distance of 1 meter.

Weight, kg 45
Adjustable Clamping Force (Z-hub), kN 0.8-3.0
Opening Width C-gun, mm 130
Welding Seam Length, mm max. 40
Wobble Amplitude (Wobble), mm ±1
Frequency (Wobble Frequency), Hz 1-25
Welding Speed, mm/s max. 50
Focal Length, mm 250 or 300
Compressed Air Consumption, l/min 250 (during operation)
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Weight, kg 400
Wavelength 1070
Mode of Operation CW/ Modulated
Nominal Output Power, kW max. 4
Beam Spot Diameter, μm 125, 250, 375, 500
Peak Power Consumption, kW <14 (without chiller)
Dimensions Controller, L x W x H 806 x 856 x 1517
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LSS-2 C-Gun Laser Seam Stepper DatasheetC-gun

C-gun Laser Seam Steppers are qualified as Class 1 Laser devices (minimum safety distance of 1 meter must be provided by an interlocking guard). The LSS-5 safety system consists of online monitoring and interlocking power supply. Compact and efficient, the stepper head weighs only 45 kg, saves compressed air and operates at ≤72 dB noise level. The LSS-5 system features improved laser modules and power supply resulting in wall-plug efficiency > 40%. The C-gun LSS-5 is offered in two configurations: laser power up to 2 kW (controller with integrated chiller) and laser power up to 4 kW (stand-alone chiller).

Features

Laser Welding with Simple Clamping Technology Real Time Welding Quality Control and Data Record of each Welding Seam
Power up to 4 kW Wall-plug Efficiency >40%
Repeatable Processing with Multi-layer Sheet Joining Integrated Chiller with 2 kW model
Smart Welding Option Class 1 Laser Capable System*
Interlocking Power Supply Safety System

*Integrator must provide an interlocking guard to create a minimum safety distance of 1 meter.

  2 kW 4 kW
Weight, kg 45
Adjustable Clamping Force (Z-hub), kN 0.8-3.0
Opening Width C-gun, mm 130
Welding Seam Length, mm max. 40
Wobble Amplitude (Wobble), mm ±1
Frequency (Wobble Frequency), Hz 1-25
Welding Speed, mm/s max. 50
Focal Length, mm 250 or 300
Compressed Air Consumption, l/min 250 (during operation)
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Weight, kg 200 400
Wavelength 1070
Mode of Operation CW/ Modulated
Nominal Output Power, kW max. 2 max. 4
Beam Spot Diameter, μm 125, 250, 375, 500
Peak Power Consumption, kW <4.6 <10.5 (without chiller)
Dimensions Controller, L x W x H 806 x 605 x 1479 806 x 856 x 1517
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LSS-5 C-Gun Laser Seam Stepper DatasheetC-gun

Laser Picker Seam Stepper combines one-sided fixturing action with a laser welding tool. The LSS-2 head can be mounted on a vertical stage with one degree of freedom or onto a robot with several degrees of freedom. The LSS-5 Laser Picker head is mounted on a robot, allowing full flexibility in welding 3D parts. The LSS-5 features improved laser modules and power supply resulting in wall-plug efficiency > 40% and a compact head weighing only 20 kg. The LSS-5 is offered in two configurations: laser power up to 2 kW (controller with integrated chiller) and laser power up to 4 kW (stand-alone chiller).

Features

Part Fixturing through One-sided Access Programmable Fixturing for Long-term Repeatability
Stage or Robot Mounting Higher Joint Strength and Rigidity
Power up to 4 kW Compact Laser and Picker Control in a Single Housing
Repeatable Processing with Multi-layer Sheet Joining Reduced Processing Time
Weight, kg 40
Welding Seam Length, mm max. 40
Wobble Amplitude (Wobble), mm ±1
Frequency (Wobble Frequency), Hz 1-25
Welding Speed, mm/s max. 50
Focal Length, mm 250 or 300
Compressed Air Consumption, l/min 250 (during operation)
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Weight, kg 400
Wavelength 1070
Mode of Operation CW/ Modulated
Nominal Output Power, kW max.4
Beam Spot Diameter, μm 125, 250, 375, 500
Peak Power Consumption, kW <14 (without chiller)
Dimensions Controller, L x W x H 806 x 856 x 1517
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LSS-2 Laser Picker DatasheetPicker

Laser Picker Seam Stepper combines one-sided fixturing action with a laser welding tool. The LSS-2 head can be mounted on a vertical stage with one degree of freedom or onto a robot with several degrees of freedom. The LSS-5 Laser Picker head is mounted on a robot, allowing full flexibility in welding 3D parts. The LSS-5 features improved laser modules and power supply resulting in wall-plug efficiency > 40% and a compact head weighing only 20 kg. The LSS-5 is offered in two configurations: laser power up to 2 kW (controller with integrated chiller) and laser power up to 4 kW (stand-alone chiller).

Features

Part Fixturing through One-sided Access Smart Welding Option
Robot Mounting Wall-plug Efficiency >40%
Power up to 4 kW Integrated Chiller with 2 kW model
Repeatable Processing with Multi-layer Sheet Joining Interlocking Power Supply Safety System
Real Time Welding Quality Control and Data Record of each Welding Seam
  2 kW 4 kW
Weight, kg 20
Welding Seam Length, mm max. 40
Wobble Amplitude (Wobble), mm ±1
Frequency (Wobble Frequency), Hz 1-25
Welding Speed, mm/s max. 50
Focal Length, mm 250 or 300
Compressed Air Consumption, l/min 250 (during operation)
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Weight, kg 200 400
Wavelength 1070
Mode of Operation CW/ Modulated
Nomincal Output Power, kW max. 2 max.4
Beam Spot Diameter, μm 125, 250, 375, 500
Peak Power Consumption, kW <5 <14 (without chiller)
Dimensions Controller, L x W x H 804 x 605 x 1479 806 x 856 x 1517
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LSS-5 Automatic Laser Picker DatasheetPicker

IPG’s LSS-3 Handheld Laser Seam Stepper allows the user to make welding seams by hand. It is designed for applications such as prototyping, low volume manufacturing and car body repair with frequently changing parameters requiring manual control. The LSS-3 Seam Stepper combines a clamping and laser welding tool in a compact head with up to 3 kN clamping action and laser output power up to 4 kW. The LSS-3 can be used on a wide variety of materials and as a replacement for resistance spot welding, providing the user with benefits such as adjustable clamping force, improved workpiece strength and stiffness, faster process speed, significantly reduced flange sizes and minimal clamping efforts. The LSS-3 produces a laser welded seam up to 4 cm in length.

Features

Handheld Manual Operation Smart Welding Option 
Power up to 4 kW Wall-plug Efficiency >30% 
Laser Welding with Simple Clamping Technology Class 1 Laser System*
Real Time Welding Quality Control and Data Record of each Welding Seam Compact Laser and C-gun Control in a Single Housing

*Minimum safety distance of 1 meter must be provided by an interlocking guard

Weight, kg 45
Adjustable Clamping Force (Z-hub), kN 0.8-3.0
Opening Width C-gun, mm 130
Welding Seam Length, mm max. 40
Wobble Amplitude (Wobble), mm ±1
Frequency (Wobble Frequency), Hz 1-25
Welding Speed, mm/s max. 50
Focal Length, mm 250 or 300
Compressed Air Consumption, l/min 250 (during operation)
Close
Weight, kg 400
Wavelength 1070
Mode of Operation CW/ Modulated
Nomincal Output Power, kW max.4
Beam Spot Diameter, μm 125, 250, 375, 500
Peak Power Consumption, kW <14 (without chiller)
Dimensions Controller, L x W x H 806 x 856 x 1517
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LSS-3 Handheld Laser Seam Stepper DatasheetHand-held

Applications

Welding of Car Body Parts Joining of Thin, Light-weight Materials
Consistently Reproducible Welds with High Grade Steel or Aluminum Increase of Joining Quality and Component Stiffness
Reliable Joining of Hot-formed Materials Low Distortion Joining
Reliable Welding of High Strength Steel Manufacturing of Prototypes, Components in Low Volume Production

 

LSS-2 Robot Seam Stepper 

LSS-3 Handheld Seam Stepper

 
 

Fiber Laser Seam Stepper Replacing Resistance Spot-Welding

A cost-effective laser based tool to conventional welding technologies

Andreas Siewert and Klaus Krastel, IPG Laser GmbH, Burbach, Germany

Resistance spot welding is known in high-volume production environment in the automotive industry since many years. The laser welding technology is also established in this application for more than 20 years, however it could still not capture the majority of the market even the modern laser welding application offers the following advantages:

  • Higher process speed (shorter cycle times).
  • Increased component strength via longer seams and resulting higher torsional stiffness.
  • Effort and cost comparable to today’s resistance-welding systems.
  • Realization of higher job safety requirements with reduced costs.
 

One of the advantages for resistance spot welding (RSW) compared to laser welding is the integrated clamping technology, which comes nearly for free as well as the safety enclosure is not as complex, not consuming valuable space and therefore not as costly.

The Laser-Seam-Stepper (LSS) from IPG Laser GmbH which has been developed in the last few years is designed to combine the advantages of a fast laserwelding process as well as the integrated clamping of the components.

The new tool is integrated in a standard robot cell a Class 1 laser device,
meaning it can be used on production lines without the need for additional
laser-safety mechanisms.

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The concept of the Laser-Seam Stepper (LSS) is to have a maintenance free fiber laser combined with an easy clamping tool where the X-Y-movement is realized by the integrated welding head. To release the laser power, the housing has to contact the component to be welded which will guarantee the laser safety (Fig. 1).

Laser welding with or without the weaving function (± 1 mm) can be effected within the range determined by the housing (standard = 40 mm). The easiest application is an LSS mounted, for example, on the sixth axis of an industrialrobot (with 50-kg handling capacity). The robot moves the LSS to the required welding position. In this position, it is placed onto the component only by robot force. Below the component, within the range of the welding seams, a fixed lower tooling is used as counter force or support (Fig. 1).

   fig 1
    Fig. 1 The Laser-Seam-Stepper is shown here with a “picker” (left) and a C-gun (right).

 

 fig 2

 

During a typical stepping operation (30 mm welding seam, 30 mm of free space, 30 mm welding seam), a laser welding seam can be placed with a welding velocity of approximately 30 mm/s every 1.7 to 2.0 s (Fig. 2).

The LSS unit is mounted on a servomotor-driven traversing unit. This is similar to a resistance-welding gun with a compensating module (Fig. 1). This version enables, for example, an industrial robot to move the module into a welding position and to close with a freely programmable force. The lower tool belonging to the C-gun (Fig. 1, right). is used as a counter force and additional safety equipment against unintendedback-reflected laser radiation. 

The force-controlled closing of the laser welding system (0.5 to 3 kN) results in a fitting accuracy (gap < 0.2 mm), which is deemed necessary for laser welding. The system’s compensation module compensates tolerances regarding the position and geometry of the components. All joining forces (0.5 to 3 kN) applied in the system are performed within the laser welding tool only; the robot itself is not required for these joining forces. During a typical stepping operation, a laser seam can be placed every 1.7 to 2.0 s.

 Fig. 2 Resistance spot welding vs. laser welding with the LSS module.    

 

Typical applications for this system are sheet-metal assemblies in the body-in-white automotive production lines (Fig. 3), which until now have been joined with many resistance-welding spots. One laser seam step of approximately30 mm can replace two resistance-spot welds with a typical spacing of 30 mm.

The cycle time for 30 resistance spot welds is approximately 75 s. If spot welding is replaced by laser seam welding in the prescribed manner, only 15 laser-weld seams are required. The cycle time can be reduced to a total of 37 s. Additional advantages are that the LSS requires less floor space and less capital investment cost in comparison to resistance spot welding.

The Laser-Seam-Stepper basic version is designed to perform linear seam welds of up to 40 mm and in addition a weaving function with a preset frequency of 3–30 Hz can be switched on in order to spread the welding seam to 2 mm.

  fig 3 
    Fig. 3 The LSS with fiber laser requires only one robot cell, whereas resistance spot welding would require two robot cells for the same operation.

 

fig 4

 

The overhaul running costs are reduced to a minimum by implementing unique features in the system. As the LSS is laser safe using standard robot welding cells there is no need of using complex and costly laser-protection housings. The system provides a clamping action to join sheet metal plates to be welded, with a defined force. This reduces the normally high requirements for additional clamping during standard laser welding as well as the maintenance of these components. A special designed air flow inside the LSS tool ensures the outperforming lifetime of the cover slide which protects the welding tool. The fiber laser and the LSS module are maintenance-free and the system is controlled via hardware interlock and standard bus systems. Preconfigured settings for length of weld (10 to 40 mm), speed, laser power, ramping, etc. can be selected which makes the programming of parts simple and easy. An optional available handheld LSS can be used for prototyping to produce laser welded parts within a short time without the need of using a robot. This offers OEM’s and suppliers a critical advantage in the form of time to market of parts and platforms.

 Fig. 4 The module is tested during production of a triangle window at the door of a car.    

 

fig 5

 

fig 6

Fig. 5 The module is tested during auto production; here, an interface B-pillar/rocker panel is being welded.   Fig. 6 The module is tested during production of a car roof frame.
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fig 7

  fig 8 
Fig. 7 Entry and weight optimization.   Fig. 8 Weight optimization.
     

With the experience of more than four years of production in a fully automated car plant the Laser-Seam-Steppers (LSS) is meanwhile used in various applications. The application is overlap welding with different material combinations. This can be zinc coated steel or high strength steel as well as stainless steel or aluminum (for example in the shipyard and rail wagon industries). The unique design of the upper and lower clamping brackets will allow to reduce the flanges from 15 mm (required for RSW) down to 10 mm or even 6 mm.

   This will allow
  • much larger viewing angles for example at A-pillars and doors
  • larger areas at the car entrance (increasing by 8%), see Fig. 7
  • weight savings (14,200 mm total length; 6 mm reduction; 2.8 mm total thickness →1.87 kg), see Fig. 8
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In cooperation with INPRO (an innovative company for advanced production systems in the automotive industry in Berlin; its cooperating partners are Daimler AG, Volkswagen AG, Siemens AG, ThyssenKrupp Technologies and SABIC Venture BV), the joining technology of resistance spot welding was compared with laser welding by the Laser-Seam-Stepper using a wobbled beam. Here, physical and technological features, behavior of the part itself and crash performance were taken into consideration, along with economic aspects.

Fig. 9 illustrates the overall evaluation of the considered factors for laser welding by LSS (blue line) and resistance spot welding (red line). The line nearer to the middle for laser welding represents a better result than the one achieved by resistance spot welding. The overall technical result shows that the performance of the wobbled seam produced by the new welding module is comparable to or even better than resistance spot welding and can complete welding tasks in half the production time. The result of economic comparison shows a total cost reduction of 6 to 10 percent, assuming fully automated production of 800 units in three-shift operation.

   fig 9
     Fig. 9 Overall evaluation of the process comparison.
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Fiber Laser Seam Stepper Replacing Resistance Spot-Welding

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