Collaboration between Civan Lasers and TU Wien yields insights on laser welding of stainless-steel tubes with a gap.

(Jerusalem, Vienna) Laser experts at the Technical University Wien (TU Wien) in Vienna, have collaborated with Civan Lasers (Jerusalem) to simulate its disruptive dynamic beam laser technology. As the first and only multiphysics simulation software capable of modeling the megahertz-level frequencies of Civan’s dynamic beam lasers (DBLs), the work improves understanding of how these beam-shaping lasers influence control of keyhole and melt-pool dynamics.

“The beam-shaping capability of Civan’s laser opens up new possibilities for increasing welding quality and speed in many of today’s challenging applications,” explains professor Andreas Otto at the Institute of Production Engineering and Photonic Technologies, TU Wien. “It’s a really significant development that will shape the future of laser materials-processing technology and even open up the development of entirely new applications.”

Figure 1 Tu Wien Welding Simulation, Industry Today
Tu Wien multiphysics simulation software modeling the megahertz-level frequencies of Civan’s dynamic beam shaping lasers plays a critical role in process development by providing insights into the effect of beam shape and frequency on keyhole and melt-pool dynamics.

Providing unique insight into the effect of each beam shape and frequency on keyhole and melt-pool dynamics, this simulation tool will play a critical role in process development, helping to optimize beam shape and frequency for a variety of laser materials-processing applications. Current simulations have focused on butt welding of stainless-steel pipe with a gap. Future collaboration will target other welding, drilling, and surface treatment applications involving a variety of materials.

The welding of a stainless-steel pipe in a butt-joint configuration was particularly challenging. The finite precision in the cut pipe fronts plus limitations of the clamping system resulted in a small gap (of the order of tens of microns, up to a few hundred microns). This welding process, which relied on standard static laser sources, did not use filler material, and the result was a gap at the contact line and low-quality weld seams.

To come up with a solution, Civan experimented with its DBL and then collaborated with TU Wien to simulate the process. The result was a better understanding of why certain shapes work better than others. The simulation also helped in the design of alternative beam shapes that might work for this problem and led to the development of general guidelines on how to design suitable beam shapes for such situations.

While current beam-shaping solutions such as diffractive optical elements can’t be changed on the fly, the use of beam oscillation with scanners and 2-in-1 fibers has led to improvements in processes in recent years. However, such mechanical scanners often can’t change fast enough to minimize keyhole instability issues. In contrast, Civan’s patented coherent beam combination modulates beam shape as desired at megahertz frequencies, without any moving parts.

Civan’s lasers use optical phased array coherent beam combining, which merges many single-mode laser beams into one larger beam. Each laser emits its own light, which overlaps with other beams in the far field, to create a diffraction pattern that unlocks the flexibility needed to easily manipulate the beam shape in real time to create a DBL. By using phase modulators to control individual beams, the resulting interference pattern can be changed to maximize the beam spot position and produce various shape patterns inscribed by the beam’s motion — all of which can be done at speeds of up to hundreds of megahertz.

“We have a very powerful tool offering complex control of many parameters, such as beam shape, shape frequency, shape sequencing, and focus steering,” explains Dr. Eyal Shekel, CEO of Civan. “Until now, we’ve used basic theory, intuition, and experience to guide us in process optimization. Dr. Otto’s novel simulation tool for beam-based manufacturing processes is a real eye-opener and provides key insights into the dynamics of the keyhole, melt pool, and resolidification, so every problem should start with a good simulation such as this.”

About Civan
Civan Advanced Technologies Ltd. was established in 2008 and is the only company to offer dynamic beam lasers. Civan’s dynamic beam lasers allow manufacturers to control beam shape, frequency, sequence and focus steering to eliminate spatter and increase welding power and speed. Through their advanced capabilities, dynamic beam lasers open the door to countless new applications. Visit Civan.

About Tu Wien Institute of Production Engineering and Photonic Technologies
The Process Simulation research group is working on novel simulation models for beam-based manufacturing processes. The aim is to map the thermodynamic, thermomechanical, and fluid dynamic processes in laser beam welding, drilling, cutting, and brazing and in electron beam drilling. In doing so, beam material interaction mechanisms on different time and size scales are considered as well as wavelength-dependent effects.

The simulation software developed in the research area is intended to be an intelligent tool for process analysis and process design for scientists and industrial users by automatically providing suitable, physically sound simulation models. In addition to software development, the research group is of course also happy to support project partners in the analysis and design of beam-based manufacturing processes.

Contact: Andreas Otto otto@ift.at.

COMPANY CONTACT
Ami Spira
Marketing Manager
Civan Lasers
Email: ami.spira@civanlasers.com

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TECH B2B Marketing
Email: john@techb2b.com

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