Product Code: PIC06_501

Hybrid Laser-Arc Processing
William Steen, Emeritus Professor of the University of Liverpool; Herts Great Britain
Presented at PICALO 2006

The concept of adding cheap power to enhance the high quality power from a laser seems a sensible approach to developing useful industrial processes that require cheap high power. The "cheap" power could be reactive gases, flames, plasmas, arcs or induction. Ever since oxygen assisted cutting was invented in 1967 various attempts at this mixed power processing have been developed or suggested. Due to the need for greater process throughput with looser manufacturing precision there has been a marked revival of interest in hybrid processes of late. This work is summarised in this paper, which also establishes through an analysis of the interaction of the laser beam with the arc plasma that the combined energy on the work piece can be more than simply adding two or more power sources together, but can be a form of laser augmentation. The combined process can in some cases enhance the high quality laser process or make it more acceptable than the laser alone.

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