Process reliability

Process reliability and flexibility are prime objectives with laser beam welding:
Laser beam welding machines from TeKoL Co.

TeKoL Company in Villingen-Schwenningen has been building special-purpose machines for many years. The company has built an international reputation, above all with its individual solutions in the area of laser beam welding technology; in addition to innovative engineering, customers appreciate the fact of single-source service, from thorough consultation all the way to initial operation. Process reliability throughout the complete laser beam welding process is a prime objective of corporate philosophy. Camera-assisted position detection and correction systems as well as fully automatic wire feed and weld monitoring guarantee maximum precision and absolute repeat accuracy through the close interaction. The laser workstations (LAP) distinguish themselves with their stability and their great flexibility.

The three pillars of TeKoL process reliability concepts for laser beam welding technology

1. Camera position detection and camera correction system

In the age of validation, the main focus is on precise repeatability of each individual process. Fluctuating component tolerances put process reliability at risk. State of the art camera position detection and a directly related camera correction system allow offsetting the above tendency at all LAPs and the other machines from TeKoL (CNS/SPS) as well. The components to be welded are automatically detected by their edges, boreholes, corners, etc. and accurately positioned accordingly. In addition, a tool scan for supports and clamping fixtures can be used to rule out additional error potential (set-up errors on the machine). Modern coding systems allow integrating and querying a large number of supports and clamping fixtures in the component clamping area through software while, for example, weld width can be automatically measured and monitored.

2. Fully automatic wire feed

In addition to the integration of cameras in the production process, the fully automatic wire feed developed by TeKoL significantly contributes to process reliability. Unlike standard wire feed systems, the patented TeKoL system uses a feed weight instead of a feed rate. The wire feed adjusts the delivery rate automatically; this ensures uniform welding depth and weld volume and a homogeneous laser weld even for complicated and difficult to access 3D contours with different contour speeds. Process reliability is ensured through continuous force and speed monitoring.

3. Weld monitoring through temperature measurement on the component

A stable welding position and fully automatic wire feed are not always enough to ensure maximum quality. For example, contamination or problems in the material to be welded ust be individually detected and taken into account during welding. Using an infrared temperature measurement laser, the temperature is measured directly on the component at the LAPs of TeKoL. Welding flaws such as shrinkage cavities, holes or connection defects as well as structure changes, component deformation, etc. can be detected and analyzed right away.

Complete solution

The highly flexible TeKoL laser machines are equipped with up to seven controlled auxiliary and positioning axes, as well as several that are easy to move and index. The user-friendly, intuitive control GUI allows programming everything from the simple component to the complex 3D application. Pneumatically selected clamping or positioning devices can be quickly and easily integrated into the process when needed. Integration of components such as laser cutting, marking, etc. is also possible without any problems.

Operating the laser workstation (LAP)

A very convenient system control (TeNet) has been created as result of many years of experience in the development of laser beam welding machines: Utilizing auxiliary programming and teach functions, this system control facilitates easy programming of circles, helix interpolation, splines, etc. Additional selection, e.g. of pneumatic valves, is possible in a straightforward manner. The finished CNC program can be run through dynamically in semi or fully automatic mode, forwards or backwards. In this mode, control is actuated via a joystick where the laser beam can be activated or deactivated. In the manual operating mode, the axes can be quickly controlled to a defined position through jogging operation, or also freely moved in the machine space. In addition, 3D contours can be loaded directly to the machine from the customer's model data, using a CAM system, to allow programming of very complex contours. Thanks to its exact positioning and dynamics, the machine is able to meet the most exacting demands..

Application examples

Intensive contact with the customers and consideration of their individual preferences allows providing machines and controls according to requirements, from the simple manual workstation with joystick-controlled axes to a 7-axes CNC-controlled machine with component weights up to 600 kg. This scope allows applications in almost all industry sectors, from miniature jobs, e.g. in the area of medical technology, to deposition welding for tool repairs, from highly specialized processes with quick cycle times in the automotive industry to large-size sheet metal processing. Laser beam welding machines from TeKoL simplifies tests on prototypes, as well as serial production welding.