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Thick Plate Fabrication

"Manufacturers in the shipbuilding, pressure vessel, military vehicle and other heavy industries now have the ability to not only increase the speed and quality of heavy plate welds, but have the opportunity to automate these processes as well," said an ADDere spokesperson.

With the ADDere laser hybrid wire welding system, single pass welding of up to 25 mm thick material can now be achieved. "Welds this deep would have typically taken several passes after complicated edge prep with conventional processes. Our laser process can produce welds like these at speeds up to 60 IPM with a 50 kW laser power source and ceramic backers," said the spokesperson.

"We are on the edge of a new era in heavy fabrication. If the system merely made a single pass weld instead of the three or four that conventional MIG would do, this would be a great technology," said Scott Woida, President, ADDere. "But doing single pass and at 1.50 m per minute with a much smaller heat affected zone? Now you have the potential to change industries."

This performance is made possible by increases in laser technology combined with ADDere's ability to control and focus its power. "Using a proprietary closed loop feedback control developed from our 3D metal printing systems, ADDere is able to take the guesswork and fine tuning out of the thick plate welding process," said the spokesperson. The feedback system monitors the keyhole depth and shape of the weld bead hundreds of times a second to maintain weld consistency and quality. The control system also looks ahead in the process to take into account weld gap conditions and make adjustments. With ADDere's control process, the weld gap need only stay within a millimeter of width for the process to be successful. Using power sources greater than 50 kW, the laser system can accommodate even greater gaps.

Further, the laser hybrid process makes thick plate welding easier both pre- and post-weld. Plates do not have to be chamfered or cleaned before welding. This cuts down on weld prep time and the labor it would require. Due to the inherent ability of the laser to highly focus its energy, the process also offers a more concentrated heat affected zone (HAZ) than multi-pass MIG systems. This concentration of heat reduces dimensional and metallurgical part deformation and the time it takes to fix these issues.

"The ADDere laser welding process lends itself well to automating operations that were previously thought impossible," said the spokesperson. "The laser weld head can be easily integrated onto an industrial robot and programmed like other robotic welding systems. Automated laser welding cells could be nearly infinite in size allowing for even the longest welds."

ADDere is a division of Midwest Engineered Systems Inc. (MWES), a provider of complex production systems integration. MWES has been providing custom robotic automation solutions for over 28 years.

For more information contact:

Midwest Engineered Systems Inc.

W238N1800 Rockwood Drive

Waukesha, WI 53188


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