Three laser processing technologies throughout the entire process of automobile manufacturing

June 14, 2024

With the rapid development of automobile lightweight, personalization, and electrification, laser processing has been widely used by major


automobile manufacturers and upstream parts suppliers. Due to the continuous enrichment of laser processes and automation integration, the


automotive industry has become one of the fields with the most laser processing applications. In industrially developed regions such as Europe


and the United States, 50%-70% of automobile parts are manufactured using laser processing technology. my country's automobile industry is


huge, the industrial chain is complete, and the market demand for laser technology is huge.

In the automotive industry industrial chain, the application of laser technology is mainly concentrated in the middle and lower reaches. At


present, the new energy vehicle market is still in a period of rapid growth. Automobile manufacturing is an industry with a large number of laser


technology applications, typically including laser brazing and flight welding of white body, three-dimensional laser cutting of hot-formed parts


and carbon fiber materials, laser welding of powertrain systems, laser quenching of engine parts, laser cladding of stamping dies, and


traceable laser marking. With the improvement of automation and intelligence, intelligent laser solutions have become the future development


trend. Intelligent laser solutions include intelligent laser equipment, intelligent laser processing technology, and ultimately intelligent factories.

Nowadays, laser technology has been widely used in the fields of "marking, welding, cutting, drilling, heat treatment, precision resistance


adjustment, precision weighting" and so on. Here we mainly introduce laser marking technology, laser welding technology, and laser cutting


technology commonly used in the automotive industry.

Laser marking:

Realize the traceability of complete vehicles and parts

Around the requirements of the automotive industry to implement comprehensive information management and quality traceability, both


automobile complete vehicle companies and automobile parts companies need to encode complete vehicles and key parts to give complete


vehicles and parts a unique identity. The application of laser in automotive parts is mainly to engrave QR codes on the body of the parts,


attach the unique product identity information to the surface of the parts through the QR code, and realize the full life cycle management of the


parts through the acquisition of equipment. At the same time, it can be associated with the VIN of the whole vehicle to realize the traceability of


the whole vehicle and parts. The key parts that need to be traced are engine assembly, gearbox assembly, steering assembly, brake assembly,


body, frame, electronic appliances, etc.

Laser marking technology has the following advantages:


Permanent: The mark will not fade due to changes in time, environment, and other elements.


Non-contact processing: eliminates chemical pollution and noise pollution.


Strong adaptability: It can mark most metal or non-metal materials.


Extremely fine marking effect: The minimum diameter of the focused spot can reach 0.01 mm or even smaller, so the marking effect is very




Low operating cost: Laser marking is fast, energy-saving, and easy to manage automatically.


In the field of automotive parts manufacturing, laser marking technology can be fully applied to any place that needs to be marked. Metal parts,


non-metal parts and even automotive glass and tires can be laser-marked.

Laser welding:

Realize the connection of complete vehicles and parts

Laser has been used for welding automotive parts and even complete vehicles for more than 20 years. In European and American countries


where the automotive industry is extremely developed, laser welding has become a standard process in the most advanced automotive


manufacturing process.

Laser welding is widely used in automotive gears (including conjoined gears), automotive transmissions, oil filters, automotive air conditioning


pulleys, hydraulic tappets, ABS battery valves, airbag igniters, lithium batteries, fuel injectors, lights, sensors, and other parts. Laser welding of


vehicle parts such as roofs, doors, trunks, and engine hoods are also widely used.


The main advantages of laser welding are:


Easy to control and fast speed;


No welding wire is required and high-quality and high-strength welds can be obtained.


The weld has a large depth-to-width ratio, bright and beautiful.


High precision, strong repeatability, and high yield rate.


Due to the fast welding speed, small heat conduction effect, and extremely small thermal deformation.


Non-contact processing, no mechanical stress.


No consumables are required, and the cost of use is low.


Experiments show that the strength of the car body welded by laser can be increased by more than 30%, which greatly improves the safety


performance of the car; the automotive parts welded by laser can effectively reduce the volume of the parts, which is in line with the


development trend of miniaturization of parts.


Laser cutting:

Realize the cutting of automotive parts


Laser-cutting technology uses a high-energy laser beam to irradiate the surface of the workpiece so that the irradiated area is locally melted,


vaporized, or phase-changed to achieve the purpose of cutting. After the laser is focused by the optical system, the energy density at the focus


is extremely high, so it can cut some extremely hard materials, including cemented carbide and even diamond. "Cutting iron like mud" is no


longer a legendary story, high technology has made it a reality.

The main advantages of laser cutting are:


In non-contact processing, no mechanical force is required on the workpiece.


The workpiece is not easy to deform, and the heat-affected zone is small.


The cutting seam (which is related to the material, thickness, laser power, cutting speed, focus position, and other elements of the object being


processed) is narrow, the cutting seam quality is relatively good, and no further processing is required.


A large amount of high-strength steel is used in automobile body materials. If mechanical cutting is used, the tool wear is extremely serious; if


stamping cutting is used, the mold will be worn, and the cutting quality will gradually decrease as the mold wears; laser cutting solves these


problems well, and can work continuously for a long time, and greatly reduces the production preparation cycle. The combination of laser


cutting technology and CNC technology has greatly improved the utilization efficiency of equipment. It only needs to import the graphics to be


cut into the CNC system, and the steel required for different parts can be cut without opening molds separately, which provides great


convenience for the flexibility of the production workshop.


The three laser processing technologies introduced here run through the entire process of automobile manufacturing. Parts manufacturers use


a variety of laser processing techniques to improve product quality, and vehicle manufacturers also widely use laser technology. Taking the


four major process links of vehicle manufacturing, "stamping, welding, painting, and assembly", For example, laser technology plays a huge


role in the "stamping, welding, and assembly" links, bringing huge economic benefits to vehicle manufacturers.