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Several applications of laser thermal processing

laser cutting

laser cutting machine

Laser technology is being widely applied across various industries. However, the applications and uses of laser-based equipment vary depending on the principles and processing methods.

Based on the interaction mechanisms between laser beams and materials, laser processing can be divided into thermal processing and photochemical reaction processing. Thermal laser processing utilizes the thermal effects generated when a laser beam is projected onto the material surface to complete the processing, including laser welding, laser cutting, laser cladding, laser hardening, laser marking, laser cleaning, laser engraving, etc. How are these thermal laser processing techniques utilized?

1. Laser Welding

Laser welding is an efficient and precise welding method that uses a high-energy density laser beam as the heat source. It is one of the important applications of laser materials processing technology. In the 1970s it was mainly used for welding thin-walled materials and low-speed welding. The welding process belongs to heat conduction type. The laser radiation heats the workpiece surface, the heat on the surface spreads inward by heat conduction. By controlling parameters such as laser pulse width, energy, peak power and repetition frequency, the workpiece is melted to form a specific weld pool. Due to its unique advantages, it has been successfully applied to the precision welding of micro and small parts.

2. Laser Cutting

A high-power density laser beam irradiates the material being cut, heating it rapidly to vaporization temperature. The material evaporates to form holes, and as the beam moves across the material, the holes continuously form a very narrow (about 0.1mm wide) slit to cut the material.

3. Laser Cladding

Laser cladding is a new surface modification technique. By adding cladding material to the substrate surface and using a high energy density laser beam to melt it together with a thin layer of the substrate surface, an additive cladding layer metallurgically bonded to the substrate is formed on the base surface.

4. Laser Hardening

Laser hardening uses a laser to heat the surface of a material above the phase transition point. As the material cools by itself, austenite transforms into martensite, thereby hardening the surface of the material.

5. Laser Marking

Laser marking is one of the largest application areas of laser processing. It is a marking method that uses a high energy density laser to locally irradiate the workpiece, causing the surface material to vaporize or undergo color-changing chemical reactions, leaving a permanent mark. Laser marking can produce various texts, symbols, patterns, etc. The character size can range from millimeters to microns, which is of special significance for product anti-counterfeiting.

6. Laser Cleaning

Industrial cleaning has various traditional cleaning methods, mostly using chemical agents and mechanical methods. With increasingly strict environmental regulations and growing awareness of environmental protection and safety in China today, the types of chemical agents that can be used in industrial production cleaning will become more and more limited. Finding cleaner non-damaging cleaning methods is an issue we have to consider. Laser cleaning has the cleaning characteristics of being abrasive-free, non-contact, non-thermal, and suitable for objects of various materials. It is considered the most reliable and effective solution. At the same time, laser cleaning can solve problems that cannot be solved by traditional cleaning methods.

7. Laser Engraving

The principle of laser engraving is not an optical interference phenomenon, but because the laser intensity at the focal point is high enough, transparent materials are generally transparent to lasers and do not absorb laser energy, but will produce nonlinear effects at sufficiently high optical intensities, absorbing a large amount of energy in a short time and causing micro explosions at the focal point. A large number of micro explosion points form engraved patterns.

In addition to the examples above, laser processing also includes laser drilling, micromachining, photochemical deposition, 3D photolithography, laser etching, etc.



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