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Product Code: ICAL05_2002

Intelligent Laser Joining in the Automotive Industry
Authors:
Jean-Paul Boillot, Servo-Robot Inc.; Saint-Bruno Quebec Canada
Anne-Gaelle Defachelles, Servo-Robot Inc.; Saint-Bruno Quebec Canada
Frederic Arsenault, Servo-Robot Inc.; Saint-Bruno Quebec Canada
Jeffrey Noruk, Servo-Robot Corp.; Mequon WI USA
Presented at ICALEO 2005

Welding and brazing are well known joining processes applied in many industries for decades. Using a laser as the principal source of energy to replace the oxy-fuel or arc processes is somewhat new. Although basic welding engineering principles must be carefully followed in order to achieve quality welds, they have sometimes been overlooked in the design of automated joining systems, because the engineers´┐Ż attention has been predominately focused on the laser itself. Associated costs and productivity losses have been enormous in many past project failures. Therefore, this subject has been carefully addressed by focusing on the basics to ensure these laser processes achieve their full potential.

This paper details the requirements and technical parameters dictating sound sheet metal welding. These must be taken into consideration for the successful automation of body-in-white laser brazing and welding, and for flexible robotic joining of tailored welded blanks. To resolve many of the inherent problems, an innovative instrumented laser welding torch has been developed and implemented in several factories. Key welding functions such as seam tracking, real-time adaptive welding parameter control and seam inspection have been integrated into an intelligent robotic process module. This new capability ensures optimum process parameters are maintained over a larger range of product variability.

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