Laser welding is a new development technology applied as a processing technique for several structural materials like thermoplastics. Even though much has not yet been revealed about laser welding of thermoplastics, at current, this sophisticated technology is gradually becoming efficient in the engineering applications. Known to be useful in automotive made plastic parts, for instance, the air intake manifolds.
Following the successful uses of lasers in metal processing technology, they are now stretching to new targets. This method has been confirmed to be useful in not only polymers but also thermoplastics. Although the laser welding of thermoplastics has been on testing for some years, it is still not fully introduced in all industries. However, not many experts in automotive and plastic engineering are conversant with this technology. It is so for this laser welding of thermoplastics is comparatively new. This innovation is constantly impacting positively in the business sector. Generally, laser welding has become highly relevant to many businesses, and so is every development that comes with it. Only that, its introduction to thermoplastic welding needs to be appropriately introduced to the right market. But today several industrial sectors seem to be adopting its usage such as fashion, consumer goods, packaging, as well as automotive.
Three main types of the commercially available laser will produce high-quality joints when applied to thermoplastics.
Nd: YAG laser
CO 2 Laser
The Nd: YAG laser is also built for material processing and has so far proven quality results. Following modern innovations, the power was increased to 6KW, and the laser size minimized. Also useful in thermoplastic applications.
The CO 2 laser is a processing tool that has been widely accepted for its unfailing performance. Its power output goes up to 60KW. This laser type is known for the cutting of ceramics, plastics, and metals. Owing to its radiation levels that stand at 10.6?m wavelength, it is swiftly absorbed in layers of plastic surfaces.
The diode laser is a well established and high power application method that has been in existence since 1997. Today, diode lasers are availed at 6KW even though they are competitively priced as opposed to the Nd: YAG and CO 2 lasers. Besides, its energy efficiency surpasses CO 2 and Nd: YAG with 10% and 3%, respectively. However, the diode lasers interact with plastic at similar levels with the Nd: YAG laser.
Ideally, lasers are good looking tools used in the jointing of molded thermoplastics, among other materials. They have features that lead to the delivery of accurate and rapid, yet controlled energy into the exact point it is needed. Thermoplastics can be redesigned or welded, considering they are built from polymer materials. However, this will require interactions at specific temperatures for the welding to be as effective as needed.
As aforementioned, the laser type to be applied during thermoplastic welding will depend on the materials being welded. Note, every laser type depends on the wavelength of the light generated. Remember, the longer the wavelength, the lower the frequency. Thus, this will determine the energy absorbed in the plastic. The laser to be applied depends on the required results.