Published on 21 January 2013
Laser welding proving trials carried out as part of the Make It With Lasers programme, managed by TWI, solved what at first seemed to be an impossible welding distortion problem.
J J Harvey Ltd, aerospace tooling engineers, approached TWI with a request to join two 10mm thick 75 by 75mm angle sections to the edges of a 2.5m diameter stainless steel hoop.
As the diameter would change by some 1 8mm if the sections were arc welded, J J Harvey needed to find a welding process with lower distortion and shrinkage. TWI's Laser Centre team estimated that laser welding the rims with a C02 laser would produce far less dimensional change. Indeed, the final diametrical shrinkage turned out to be approximately 6mm.
The total job entailed some 14m of circumferential welding, and the component remained within accepted tolerances. As a direct result of the edge welding success, the company requested more laser work on the same component.
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