Product Code: JLA_14_4_210

S. Postma
Netherlands Institute for Metals Research (NIMR), P.O. Box 5008, 2600 GA, Delft, the Netherlands

R. G. K. M. Aarts
Johan Meijer
J. B. Jonker
Faculty of Engineering, University of Twente, P.O. Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, the Netherlands

For economical reasons it is desirable to apply the highest possible speed during laser welding. Increasing the welding speed at a certain laser power might result in insufficient penetration of the weld. This work describes the design of a feedback controller, which is able to maintain full penetration in mild steel sheets. An optical detector, which is placed inside the Nd:Yttrium–aluminium–garnet laser source, measures the intensity of the weld-pool radiation through the optical fiber. This sensor signal is used as input of a feedback control system. A model, which describes the dynamic response of the welding process including the sensor and laser source dynamics, has been obtained, using system identification techniques. The input of this model is the laser power and the output is the modeled sensor signal. Based on this dynamic model a feedback controller is designed and implemented. The laser power is used as an actuator. The controller maintains full penetration during welding of tracks with disturbances like sudden artificial power fluctuations and sudden speed changes. This feedback controller opens the possibility to optimize the welding speed without risking lack of penetration. © 2002 Laser Institute of America.

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