WELDING: Laser Welder for Large-Format Parts

Branson's GLX-3 aimed at large-format plastic parts with more complex geometries for broad range of applications.

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A new laser welder reportedly delivers clean, high-speed laser welding of large format plastic parts with more complex geometries to meet the growing needs of automotive, appliance, medical filtration, and other applications that require particulate-free welds with superior aesthetic quality. Among the advanced features incorporated in the GLX-3 from Branson Ultrasonics, Danbury, Conn., is Branson’s patented Simultaneous Thru-Transmission Infrared (STTIr) process, which heats, melts and joins the entire weld line of two or more parts simultaneously.

The exclusive STTir process boasts a significantly faster weld cycle on large parts, and more precise melt of the weld line, compared to scan or tracer welding processes which must travel the entire length of the weld line to accomplish heating. As a result, the GLX-3 laser welder can deliver cycle times as fast as 0.5 to 5 sec. on weld lines of 2.0 meters nominally, depending on part material and geometric complexity. Throughput speed is further increased with automatic tool changes, which typically take under five minutes. Also, the STTIr enables the welder to accommodate variable weld widths, delivering weld depths of 1.0 mm or more, yet holding tight tolerances on weld depths as shallow as 0.05 mm or less.

The GLX-3 is designed for large-format parts that require greater laser and clamping power. It offers an expansive—1333 mm x 600 mm—high-speed, servo-driven lift table with a high overhead clearance, capable of accommodating single- or multi-cavity tooling with combined weights (upper and lower) of up to 500 kg. The unit offers four levels of laser power—1250W, 1500W, 1750W, and 2000W—a wider clamping force—1-25 kN—plus closed-loop, clamp-force control to meet the most demanding parts-welding requirements. GLX-3 features a 12-inch, color human-machine interface (HMI) screen based on common global IPC architecture that is said to simplify training, setup, adjustment, and diagnostics. The HMI software can accommodate up to 99 different users with configurable access rights and password-protected logins. The GLX-3 will be demonstrated at K2016 this October.