Pulsed or continuous laser? – Elena

Your laser welding machine can be equipped with one of the following two types of lasers: a pulsed laser or a continuous laser. The choice of one over the other depends on the thickness of the material you want to weld.

  • The pulsed laser:
    • It is suitable for metals that are light and thin.
    • It prevents them from being deformed or melted.
    • This type of pulsed laser is mainly used to weld sheet metal, razor blades, gold jewelry chain links and titanium pacemakers.
  • The continuous laser:
    • It is recommended for welding thick parts.
    • Can particularly effective on refractory metals.
    • It can pose problems if it is used on metal or a part that is too thin. In these cases the laser could damage, deform or melt the part.
    • It is more expensive than a pulsed laser, but it also reduces operating costs.

How to choose the laser beam source?

There are three types of sources: fiber laser, CO2 laser and Nd:YAG laser. The choice of source depends on the type of laser you have chosen (pulsed or continuous).

  • The fiber laser:
    • This technology is based on sharp and thin beams that allow continuous and penetrative work to be carried out.
    • Like the CO2 laser, the fiber laser can penetrate thick sheets with great speed and efficiency.
    • It is easier to integrate into a machine than other lasers both in terms of use and maintenance.
    • This laser offers an average efficiency of 25%.
  • The CO2 laser:
    • This technology uses a gas mixture of carbon dioxide, helium and nitrogen that is electrically-excited and optimized for continuous operation.
    • Like the fiber laser, the CO2 laser can penetrate thick sheets with great speed and efficiency.
    • It is more effective at penetrating thick steel parts than the fiber laser so it is more widely used.
    • It is more flexible and can penetrate thicker and lighter materials than the fiber laser.
    • This laser offers an average efficiency of 7% for 8,000 W.
  • The Nd:YAG laser:
    • It allows effective control of the power, duration and shape of the laser pulses.
    • It is optimized for pulsed mode.
    • But it emits pulses of very different wavelengths that do not all reach their target and then dissipate in the form of heat.
    • This type of laser is less energy efficient (3 to 4% efficiency) than CO2 lasers (7 to 10%) and fiber lasers (25 to 30%).

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