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YAG Vs Fiber Laser Vs Optical Fiber Transmission Laser Welder

May 07, 2021

Starting form the first ruby laser in the 1960s, Nowadays,there are many types of lasers used in industrial processing include semiconductor lasers, solid-state lasers, gas lasers, and fiber lasers. Among them, solid-state lasers occupies a large of shared market for precision processing of metals.While the developing of high-power fiber lasers is providing new solutions to precision processing of metals. For laser welding application, fiber lasers ,Optical fiber transmission laser and YAG lasers have their own advantages and disadvantages for welding application,and what are the same and differences between them?

 

fiber laser wlder

Introduction of YAG Laser Welder:

 

YAG laser welding machines are common with integrated body design, and its optical system and welding workbench are on the same platform. These laser system are composed of these accessories include:laser power supply, cold water circulation system, switching power supply, EMI filter, circuit breaker, and parts of optical system: condenser cavity, YAG crystal rod, xenon lamp, red light, shutter frame (2D frame or 3D frame ), beam expander (sometimes water-cooled beam expander required), 45 degree lens and beam combining lens, etc.

 

The laser is generated by using a xenon tube to produce a light source with a certain wavelength and a crystal rod to produce pumping.

 

However, the xenon tube will produce a wide range of wavelengths of light source that can actually generate laser with YAG is less. In terms of laser generation, its effective rate is much poor than that of semiconductor lasers. Therefore,the output power of YAG lasers are common between 100W and 500W, which can only meet the customer in small and medium power application.Moreover,poor flexibility with automatic intelligent production control due to the body of itself design that free motion control cannot perform at the laser output end. So,these disadvantages of YAG laser welder are greatly limited in large-scale automatic production.

 

Introduction of Optical Fiber Transmission Laser Welder:

 

There are different appearance between YAG laser welding machine and optical fiber transmission laser welding machine. Optical fiber transmission laser welder is commonly that the laser source and the workbench are separated and independent. Although the laser is produced by the YAG pumping, and the principle is same as YAG laser, but it can increase the efficiency of laser welder, sometimes customer need to use multiple optical paths to transmit laser to work on different workbenches what can be archived through equipped with splitting or time-sharing lenses.

 

At present,There are six optical paths can perform. The laser is transmitted along these fibers with long transmission distance and stable beam quality advantages. Good flexible processing with the output laser head and automatic moving table, and realize multi-dimensional and multi-angle free operation.So,automatic and intelligent welding production mostly adopt optical fiber transmission laser welder.

 

What the YAG and Optical Fiber Transmission Have in Common:

 

  • Both use YAG and xenon tube as the pump source of laser;
  • Both laser wavelength is 1064nm infrared light;
  • Mainly for the welding of thin materials and precision parts;

 

Introduction of Fiber Laser Welder:

 

The so-called fiber laser welder refers to the laser is pure fiber laser that uses optical fiber with rare-earth elements doped as the gain medium.

 

The welding speed of the fiber laser welder is 20 times that of the fiber transmission welding machine,the power consumption is only 1/10 of the optical fiber transmission laser welding machine and there are no consumables. The pure fiber laser welding machine can be pulse spot welding or continuous welding processing. More large the output power of fiber laser welding machine than YAG and fiber transmission Laser.

 

What the Fiber and the Fiber Transmission Laser Welder Have in Common:

 

  • Both can be single-fiber head or multi-fiber head output;
  • Both can realize long-distance welding.
  • Both have even energy distribution of the welding spot;
  • Both can apply to various complex welding application;
  • Both easy to realize automation,high flexible and convenient.
  • Both are suitable for continuous and sealing welding.

 

The Difference Between YAG and Fiber Laser

 

Laser Type

YAG laser

Fiber Laser

Structure

Xenon tube, Nd:YAG, resonance system

Fiber source,Optical fiber resonance system, transmission system

Electro-optical conversion efficiency

4-5%

30%

Reflected light effect

impact, it needs to be welded at an angle, and the failure of fiber can be replaced on the spot.

impact, it needs to be welded at an angle, and the failure of fiber can not be replaced on the spot

Factors causes reflected light

Material model, material surface finish, tilt angle and protective lens

Material model, material surface finish, protective lens, tilt angle, the amount of defocus

Consumables

Xenon tube, exchange resin, protective lens

Protective lens

Initial cost

Low

High

Maintenance cost

Low cost, high frequency, short time

High cost, low frequency, long time

Method

Pulse, spot and continuous welding option

Pulse, continuous welding option

Welding spot

Determined by the fiber diameter, collimation system and focusing system, after the configuration, the welding effect based on adjusting the amount of defocus

Determined by the fiber diameter, collimation system and focusing system

Stainless steel welding

Good welding finished

Good welding finished,but it is prone to produce holes for the thin plate welding

Aluminum

Good welding finished for 3003 aluminum alloy,relatively poor welding finished for 5 series and 6 series

Good sealing effect, the starting point hole and the end point accumulation are prone to occur during the welding of thin plates.

Operator requirements

general

A little higher

Control

Easy

Easy

 

Above comparison,fiber lasers and YAG solid-state lasers have their own advantages and disadvantages.Therefore,YAG solid-state lasers still are popular in the low- and medium-power of laser welding applications, and fiber lasers are popular in high-power welding applications.

 

The Advantages of YAG Laser Welder

 

Large processing range

 

YAG laser welding machine can work in both continuous and pulse states. Q-switching and mode-locking technology can get short pulses and ultra-short pulses and higher peak power, making its processing range larger than that of CO2 laser welding machines.

 

Flexible processing

 

YAG laser welding machine can combine with optical fiber. With the help of time division and power division multiplex system, a laser beam can be easily transmitted to multiple stations or remote stations, making laser processing more flexible.

 

High effective

 

The output wavelength of laser is 1.06um, which is 1/10 of the CO2 laser(wavelength 10.6um). The shorter wavelength is beneficial to focusing, fiber transmission and absorption on metal surface, Therefore,for metal processing, and more better processing performance (The effective power of a 800W YAG laser welding machine is equivalent to that of a 3KW CO2 laser welding machine).

 

Compact structure

 

YAG laser welding machine with compact structure, especially for LD YAG laser, miniaturization, all-solid-state, long life, lower thermal, easy to use and reliable.

 

Summary

 

There are common three types of laser welding equipment, including YAG laser welding machine,fiber transmission laser welding machine and fiber laser welder,and the main difference between YAG and fiber transmission in structure,the fiber transmission welding mode is based on the YAG laser with fiber transmission, sometimes need to equip with the vibration mirror system.However,The fiber laser welder is different from YAG and fiber transmission,which is suitable for larger industrial welding application due to its high efficiency and high power output.