20 April 2009

New GSI_laser scan head increases welding control, flexibility and efficiency

GSI_Group, Laser Division today announced its new scan head control system and software for the JK125 and JK300. This system enables greater control and flexibility as well as reduced production times for repeatable high speed, high precision, seam and spot welding.

The new system is a single user application allowing control and management of all laser and scan head programming functions. It incorporates the scan head and the software, the Scan Head User Interface (SHUI), which is integrated into the powerful industry leading LaserView SETM software, enabling seamless programmability of scan head and laser parameters through a single operator screen.

The self-optimising SHUI was developed by GSI to eradicate the need for separate programs for the laser and scan head, and has been specifically designed for laser processing applications rather than the more traditional marking applications for which scan heads are predominantly used.

Said Dr. Mark Greenwood, GSI Lasers: “GSI is constantly refining its product range according to the manufacturing requirements of its customers. The scan head enhances the GSI JK125 and JK300 lasers, giving customers greater flexibility and control over their welding processes. They will gain greater convenience through the use of the SHUI but will also see welding processes speeded up significantly. This new system gives manufacturers even more reason to choose laser welding over conventional spot and MIG welding.”

Increased productivity
Using a scan head instead of the more conventional process-tool-based systems gives an array of advantages to the user. Processing cycle time is significantly reduced, for example. Areas from fractions of square meters to a few square meters can be scanned, depending on whether the galvanometer mirrors are in a fixed or movable arrangement, at rates of metres per second.
Welding time can also be increased using the scan head. In most welding applications the average welding time is short compared to the positioning and loading time of the system; typically the 20% to 50% of the cycle time of the process. Reducing the non-productive times with a scanning head increases welding time by up to more than 90%.

Increased flexibility
The scan head enables the laser beam to be deflected precisely and quickly throughout a range of spot sizes and working areas. Two configurations are available: The Variable Spot Size, which provides x2.8 beam expansion capability and can be fitted with an in-line camera adaptor, which will accept a standard C-mount camera, and the Fixed Spot size will accept a CS-mount camera fitted to the rear of the fibre output housing. A range of f-theta objective lenses are available to provide spot sizes from 100µm to 750µm and a usable working area from 25mmx25mm to 150mmx150mm. Additionally, the shape of the weld can be programmed in a variety of geometrical shapes and figures such as circle, sine wave, open circle, and spiral, giving laser welding further structural advantage over conventional spot and MIG welding.

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