06 November 2019
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Panasonic says it's new fibre lasers will revolutionise the welding of plastic components

Panasonic Industry's VL-W1 laser welding system

Requirements in the plastic industry are high: While manufacturing and production processes are accelerating, products are becoming ever more complex. All products should be marked for identification to ensure product quality and to allow for tracing in case of consequential damage.

Panasonic Industry laser marking systems are already established in the market, for example the MOFPA (Master Oscillator Fiber Power Amplifier) fibre laser technology, which has a proven track record for identification marking of plastic components. This expertise and years of experience have been incorporated into the development of the new VL-W1 laser welding system.

Fibre laser technology offers what is currently the most energy-efficient and cost-effective system for laser processing of plastic parts, as it can operate with practically no maintenance.

Competence in laser welding of plastics

Laser welding of plastics offers decisive advantages compared to conventional bonding technology (ultrasonic welding, gluing, etc.). It is a clean and precise process in which the plastic components can be joined without visible welding seams. Joining by means of laser energy does not leave any adhesive residue and produces no wear particles, which can lead to problems on the finished component later on. The process energy required for bonding can also be introduced selectively and with only slight pressure on the bonding surface for laser-welded components in comparison to other methods. That not only ensures stress-free joining of components with very little warping but is also extremely energy efficient.

The individual process steps can be monitored and documented completely and are therefore useful for quality control.

A new integration module was designed especially for Panasonic Industry’s laser welding system VL-W1. It corresponds to the dimensions and features of the laser welding system, making it easier for integrators and machine builders to implement the laser welding process for plastics into their production lines. The construction work and the risks that occur when a new process is integrated into an existing line are minimised by the I-Module. A large field of operation (200mm x 150mm) makes it easy to insert various components. Different clamping mechanisms allow tension forces from 400N up to 3000N. A position measuring system with a resolution of 0.003mm assures precise placing within the VL-W1.

Panasonic Industry Europe also offers a surrounding for the VL-W1 series: the LCP-3000 workstation. This is suitable for a variety of laser welding applications due to possible servo-driven X-, Y- and Z-axis tables or servo-driven rotary indexing tables. A 360° solution with rotary shaft is also available. The LCP-3000 workstation is equipped with a servo-driven cabin safety door and an internal extraction unit with an optional filter insert. Panasonic Industry Europe offers customised clamping units for every application to provide solutions for individual demands.

Tom Austin-Morgan

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Panasonic Industrial Europe GmbH

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