What is hybrid laser welding?

March 19, 2024

Welding is a broad technique for joining a variety of materials. The technology covers many types, including electron beam, laser, arc, and gas welding. In addition to these types, hybrid laser welding has been developed, combining the advantages of laser welding and arc welding.
This blog post will explore hybrid laser welding and its applications. You'll also learn about the differences between hybrid laser welding and traditional welding techniques. So, let's get started. ​
What is hybrid laser welding?

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Hybrid laser welding is a unique type of welding that utilizes both laser and arc welding. Initially, the laser machine produces a focused, high-intensity laser beam. When the laser beam strikes the workpiece surface, it vaporizes the material, creating a vapor cavity. The vapor chamber is called the keyhole. It facilitates deep penetration of the weld.
The energy flow density of arc welding creates a broad focus. Arc welding provides additional heat and filler material to improve weld quality. According to ResearchGate, arc welding acts as an auxiliary heat source in hybrid laser welding.

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Laser and arc welding strengthen the weld area and facilitate the welding process. Combining laser welding with traditional arc welding methods helps welders overcome the limitations of each technology. Additionally, it provides better welding speed than other welding technologies.
Types of Hybrid Laser Welding
There are several types of hybrid laser welding, depending on the arc welding you are using. The following are common types of hybrid laser welding:
1. Laser-MIG welding
According to ScienceDirect, hybrid laser welding combines laser welding with metal inert gas (MIG) welding technology. A high-energy laser beam creates a heat source that helps create deep welds.
MIG welding is a type of gas metal arc welding (GMAW) that simultaneously produces an arc between the workpiece and a wire electrode. It provides filler material for the welding process and improves welding by Reducing the chance of porosity. The release of shielding gas also helps protect the weld from potential contaminants.
2. Laser plasma arc welding
This hybrid laser welding involves integrating plasma arc and laser welding. Plasma arcs use ionized gas to create a high-energy welding arc. The high-energy plasma heats the workpiece, allowing the laser beam to penetrate the material.
The plasma arc in this hybrid welding allows for better control of heat input and improved weld pool stability. This technology is very effective for welding thin sheets and dissimilar materials where controlled heat input is required.
3. Laser MAG welding
The technology involves laser welding and metal active gas welding (MAG). Like MIG welding, it uses a wire and workpiece to create an arc. However, MAG welding involves active shielding gas.
According to TWI, MAG uses a mixture of carbon, oxygen, and argon. Using an active shielding gas helps remove oxides during the welding process, thus preventing contamination. Laser welding produces an intense laser beam to produce high input energy, resulting in deep welds. The combination of laser and MAG enables efficient, deep-penetration welding with minimal heat input.
4. Laser TIG welding
This hybrid welding integrates tungsten inert gas welding (TIG) technology and laser welding methods. According to Wikipedia, TIG welding uses tungsten electrodes. The welding process does not consume tungsten. Instead, filler material is used to complete the weld.
The inert shielding gas protects the weld seam from contamination and oxidation. Generally, helium or argon are used as inert gases. The combination of laser and TIG can help you increase welding speed and increase productivity. This hybrid welding also improves joint quality, making it suitable for industries that require high-end welds.

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Process advantages of laser hybrid welding
Hybrid welding is a beneficial process that utilizes the characteristics of arc and laser welding. It also enables you to overcome the limitations of both welding types, helping to improve the final product. Here are some of the advantages of laser hybrid welding:
1. Increase welding speed
Hybrid welding combines the advantages of laser welding and traditional welding methods and increases the welding speed. The laser machine generates a high-energy, intense laser beam as a heat source to vaporize the material instantly. Arc welding requires additional heat input, which increases melting and deposition rates.
The hybrid process produces faster, stronger welds. It increases the overall productivity of the welding process, making it an efficient process for high-volume production.
2. Improve tolerance
The joint gap is an important aspect of the welding process and affects the quality of the welded joint. Joint gaps often deteriorate welds, leading to defects and joint failure.
Using hybrid welding can improve joint gap tolerances. The heat input of the laser beam combined with the heat of arc welding prevents deviations in the joint configuration during the welding process.
Hybrid welding gives you a better weld 2 to 3 times more resistant than laser welding. The improved tolerances of hybrid laser arc welding minimize post-weld distortion, making it a versatile choice for industries that require greater precision.
3. Increase single-pass penetration depth
Hybrid laser arc welding also enables you to increase penetration per pass. The intense and focused energy produced by the laser beam helps penetrate deeply into the material.
The laser beam, along with arc welding, allows deeper penetration into the joint. The high energy of both welding techniques combined creates an intense heat source that increases the depth of penetration in a single pass. This feature is necessary for industries that involve welding thicker materials. It also helps strengthen the weld, making it more durable and stress-resistant.
4. Improve welding quality
Welding quality is critical to every industry. There is also a need to make durable products. However, creating high-quality welds is a difficult task due to the complexity and potential defects of the welding process.
Hybrid laser welding offers a convenient way to improve weld quality. Laser welding gives you precise control over the welding process. It gives you a narrow weld bead, allowing you to minimize distortion. The synergistic effect of laser and arc welding technologies reduces the risk of porosity and deformation in the weld seam. It enables you to achieve high-quality welds with minimal defects.

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