Direct Remote Laser Welding Process and System

Organization: General Motors Research and Development Center
Year: 2016

Zinc-coated steels provide excellent corrosion resistance and improved formability, which are widely used in the automotive industry. The challenges for application of zinc-coated steels are the corresponding welding issues. The common way they’re used in the automotive industry is resistance spot welding (RSW). When RSW of the zinc coated steels, the selection of the weld guns and electrodes are dependent on the materials gauges and grades. The Direct Remote Laser Welding Process and System is a remote laser welding system that produces high-integrity welds in coated steels such as zinc coated steels rapidly, by translating the laser beam on the fly with specific beam travel patterns in order to produce the welds with different shapes such as spot, stich, oval or staple. Compared to RSW, laser welding is a single-sided process. However, it is significant challenge to laser weld zinc coated steels in zero-gap lap joint configuration. The highly-pressurized zinc vapor is produced during the welding process because the zinc has lower boiling point (906 Celsius degree) than the melting point of steel (more than 1300 Celsius degree).