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Mold Repair: Laser Welding Achieves Low Cost and High Quality

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Mold Repair: Laser Welding Achieves Low Cost and High Quality

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News
Author:
2020-11-14
Mold Repair: Laser Welding Achieves Low Cost and High Quality
 
While TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding is the go-to tool for mold welding in many shops, high power pulsed laser welding is a high quality process that can provide repaired molds that behave like new.
 
Pulsed laser welding serves as a viable alternative to traditional welding for the repair of injection molds.
 
Portable laser welding technology allows users to repair large tools anywhere, even in a 5-axis machining center.
 
Repairing worn molds is always cheaper than replacing them. The catch is how well the regenerated mold will work in the future. Do you manufacture parts of the same quality as the original?
How long will it last until it needs to be repaired again or is scrapped?
 
For molds that go to a welding repair shop, the quality of the weld and the welding process have to do with answering these questions.
However, for plastic processors, alternative pulsed laser welding provides better results with less damage to the base metal, so molds produce higher quality parts and last significantly longer
after repair.
 
 
Shinhop laser welder
 
The main rationale for pulsed laser welding over traditional TIG or micro TIG welding is that the laser provides a higher quality end result with less incidental damage to adjacent areas of the
weld (such as heat affected zone). .. In the traditional welding process, the material in the zone is soft and prone to wear. The microcracks and porosity of the weld itself reduce surface quality
and shorten tool life.
 
In addition to this main advantage, other advantages of today's laser welding technology are:
 
Function to repair the mold multiple times
Faster mold repair with much faster machining or bench time
Portable and flexible, even large molds can handle almost all functions
Cheap and long lasting in terms of total cost
Here's how today's pulsed laser welding technology can deliver all these benefits:
 
What happens when welded
Let's start with the basics. For example, send molds to a welder to rebuild worn corners, fill cracks and holes, and repair worn gates that are currently producing flash. First, these areas of
the mold are constructed or filled by welding a bead of filler material to the surface of the component. Then rework the features to blend the surface and return the mold to its original dimensions.
 
In conventional TIG welding, an electric current flows through the electrodes to the work surface and filler wire, generating a “welding arc”. The welder holds the TIG torch in one hand
and the filler wire in the other hand and slowly moves through the repair zone as the arc melts the filler material and places the beads.
 
With pulsed laser welding, a very accurate beam is directed at the filler metal. In addition to more accurate positioning, the beam width is highly controllable using an Alpha welding laser
with a diameter of 0.2-2.0 mm.
 
The pulse of the beam (usually about 5-30 pulses per second) gives you very fine control over the amount of energy directed at the weld. The laser is oriented with a high energy burst,
allowing the welder to move at high speed without generating more heat than necessary. The pulse also contributes to the faster cooling of the workpiece.
 
 
Laser vs TIG welding heat affected zone
 
Laser welding is much more accurate and dramatically smaller
All of these factors help significantly reduce the heat required to produce high quality welds. In fact, you can comfortably touch the workpiece immediately after laser welding. Do not try
it after traditional TIG welding.
 
This low thermal process has a significant impact on how the repaired mold is retained over time as the metallurgical properties of the mold material change significantly in the heat
affected zone (HAZ). .. High heat essentially anneals and softens the metal.

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