II-VI Incorporated and Coherent Inc., entered into a supply agreement creating a collaboration to enable faster process development and streamlined production services for automotive laser welding applications. These include high-strength alloy welding for automotive body-in-white applications and mass production copper welding for electrification applications. Specifically, the combination of II-VI’s advanced laser processing heads and Coherent’s Adjustable Ring Mode (ARM) fiber laser technology delivers power adjustment and beam positioning on the fly to produce optimal welds with the highest quality at a very high speed and over large working areas, increasing the efficiency and decreasing the cost of ownership.
As part of this collaboration, Coherent will provide customers with the convenience of a single point of contact throughout the development and deployment of welding sub-systems combining the Coherent ARM fiber lasers and the II-VI RLSK and HIGHmotion 2D remote laser processing heads. By offering this Industry 4.0 ready solution, Coherent will deliver an optimized, integrated solution with superior service that ensures maximum productivity on customers’ manufacturing lines.
“System builders will get the best of both companies’ advanced technologies, with the logistical simplicity of a single source,” said Jarno Kangastupa, Managing Director, High-Power Fiber Lasers Business Unit, Coherent. “The advanced optics and smart software of II-VI’s laser processing heads enable customers to fully leverage the Coherent ARM laser with unique ability to control, in real time, the laser beam shape and power distribution with great precision and over a wide dynamic range, delivering the state of the art in remote laser welding.”
Dr. Karlheinz Gulden, Senior Vice President, Laser Devices and Systems Business Unit, II-VI, added, “The Coherent ARM laser and the II-VI remote laser processing heads each utilize unique designs that are very effective in suppressing back reflections, thus enabling extremely high-quality welds in reflective materials such as aluminum and copper, which are nowadays widely used in automotive, including in e-mobility applications. This combination enables a constant laser power level of up to 8 kW, which is beneficial for many copper and aluminum applications.”
II-VI’s RLSK and HIGHmotion 2D laser processing heads, with their high-precision vision-controlled beam positioning system, rapidly scan the workpiece at distances of up to 64 cm (25.2 inches), and over an area as large as 20 x 30 cm (7.9 x 11.8 inches), to achieve remote laser welds with superior quality. Remote laser welding has been proven to deliver an order of magnitude increase in processing speed compared with spot welding, while maintaining a highly consistent depth of penetration and fine spatial resolution. II-VI’s RLSK processing heads with seam tracking also enable reliable fillet welds, which, compared with conventional overlap welds, provide a greater flexibility in design, saving material and producing lighter-weight parts.