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LightWELD: The Welds Look Great, But Are They Strong?

LightWELD continues to impress people with the superior aesthetics of laser welding when compared to alternate welding techniques, but are the looks too good to be true?

To answer this question, IPG prepared some samples and sent them to Sturbridge Metallurgical Services, Inc., located in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, for third party evaluation. Accredited by NADCAP (National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program) and A2LA (American Association for Laboratory Accreditation), SMS was able to provide the service and experience to properly and independently evaluate the test samples.

Putting laser welds to the test

In 1993, the American Welding Society (AWS) formed a committee of experts from the aircraft and aerospace industries to form a welding committee in the aircraft and aerospace industries. The output of this committee and through periodic updates is AWS D17.1:2017, an American National Standard. While the standard covers several classes, samples were tested to Class A. The most demanding class, Class A covers critical aerospace applications, welds where a single failure would cause loss of system, major component or control resulting in endangerment to personnel.

Butt joints in plates of 0.036” (~0.89mm), 0.075” (~1.9mm) and 0.120” (~3.05mm) were produced and sections were prepared using ASTM standard methodology and inspected at 50X magnification. A total of 26 cross sections were inspected. In all cases, no cracking, incomplete fusion, porosity, inclusions or other defects were noted. Weld profile was passing in all cases and in no case was underfill noted.


During the ultimate tensile testing, seven samples were prepared for evaluation. Out of the seven, only one failed on the weld joint while the other six failed at the base material. The elongation of the six samples that failed at the base material ranged from 48% to 59%, while the one that failed at the weld joint had an elongation of 54%. While this is a relatively small sample size, all weld samples were found to be acceptable to AWS D17.1:2017 Class A Standards.

                 Butt joints in 304 stainless steel plates of 0.036 in                                               Butt joints in 304 stainless steel plates of 0.075 in                                           Butt joints in 304 stainless steel plates of 0.120 in


In all cases, no cracking, incomplete fusion, porosity, inclusions, or other defects were noted during weld tests for butt joints in 304 stainless steel plates of 0.036 in., 0.075 in., and 0.120 in. The weld profiles passed all tests and no underfill was noted.

The findings from the third-party evaluation of the samples by Sturbridge Metallurgical Services indicate that LightWELD produces welds that meet rigorous industry standards, including critical aerospace applications; offering both efficiency and quality in welding applications. In summary, LightWELD offers a faster and more efficient welding solution compared to traditional MiG and TiG techniques, thanks to its high power density that enables deep penetration and faster welding speeds. Furthermore, when parts fit up well, filler wire can even be eliminated, resulting in an aesthetically pleasing and strong weld.


IPG Photonics: The Experts In Fiber Laser Solutions

With its many advantages over traditional welding methods, hand-held laser welding can help improve the quality and consistency of your welds while reducing production time and costs. Contact IPG Photonics today to learn more about how we can help you implement laser welding into your production process and take your products to the next level.

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