Laser Welding Vs Welding : Comparative Analysis On Different Features


This article discusses about laser welding vs welding. Welding here refers to different types of welding processes used in industry. Welding can be defined as the process of joining two or more metals.

They can be similar or dissimilar. Depending upon the applications, welding can be classified into many types. Sometimes even a weak weld can do the job whereas some times the weld needs to have a lot of strength. This article will compare laser welding with other types of welding.

What is laser welding?

In the name itself, it suggests that laser welding uses lasers for welding purpose. Lasers provide a very narrow and concentrated heat source.

Narrow and concentrated heat source will make room for deeper welds and higher welding rates. This type of welding can be used in automation where high volume production of the same product needs to be done. In industries mostly the robots do the laser welding.

Types of welding

There are many types of welding. The type of welding depends on the source of heat, type of electrodes used, method of heating the desired area and much more.

The types of welding are discussed in the section given below-

  • Gas welding – Gas welding uses a gas to produce flame hence the name gas welding. The major advantage of using gas welding is that we can control the temperature of the weld zone by changing the temperature of the flame which is done by regulating the flow of gas.
  • Solid state welding – No filler metal is used in this process. Coalescence is produced at temperatures below the melting point of the base materials that are being welded.
  • Resistance welding – Electrical resistance is used to generate heat for welding purposes. The electric current is passed through the metals that need to be welded. The resistance created in this process generates enough heat to weld the metals.
  • Arc welding – An electric arc is generated between the work piece and an electrode. This electrode generates enough arc to produce heat for welding.
  • Newer welding– Rapidly moving objects create heat through friction which is used for welding purposes.

Laser welding vs arc welding

The table below shows the comparison of laser welding and arc welding

Laser WeldingArc Welding
Cleaner welds are provided by this type of weldingSoot is produced from the burnt electrodes.
More precise weldsThe precision of welds depends on the operator
Easy to automateIt is semi automatic or manually operated.
Can be used on thinner materials as wellUsed on thin materials but does not provide enough strength
The welds have high tensile and bending strength.Provides lesser tensile and bending strength.
Table: Comparison between Laser Welding and Arc Welding
laser welding vs welding
Image: Shielded Metal Arc Welding

Image Credits: WeldscientistExcalibur 7018CC BY-SA 4.0

Laser welding and TIG welding

The table below show the comparison between laser beam welding and tig welding. TIG stands for Tungsten Inert Gas.

Laser WeldingTIG Welding
The welds are preciseThe precision depends on the workers
The welds are cleanerThe welds are not as clean as laser welds
Laser beam welding uses lasers for weldingIn TIG welding, lasers are not used for welding
No electrode is usedTungsten electrode is used for welding
Easy to automateEven TIG welding can be automated easily.
Table: Laser Welding Vs TIG Welding

Laser welding vs MIG welding

MIG stands for Metal Inert Gas. The table below shows the comparison between laser welding and mig welding.

Laser WeldingMIG Welding
Uses high precision laser beam for weldingUses metal electrodes for welding purposes.
Deep penetrations using laser provide better welding strength to thick plates.The penetration power of mig is not as good as Laser welding
No inert gas is usedAn inert gas shields the weld pool
No electrode is used in this processA metal electrode is used in this process
Sheets having large thickness can be welded in a single pass only.Thicker sheets can be welded using MIG but it will need more number of passes to complete the job.
Table: Comparison between Laser Welding and MIG Welding

Electron beam welding vs laser welding

Both of these welding techniques are modern and are expensive in nature. Both of them have similar weld characteristics.

The table below shows the comparison between electron beam welding and laser welding-

Laser WeldingElectron Beam Welding
Uses a monochromatic beam of light or laser for welding purposesUses a beam of fast moving electrons for welding purposes.
The penetration power is highThe penetration power is high
Deeper penetrations provide strength to thicker welds.Deeper penetrations provide strength to thicker welds.
No electron beam is used for welding purposeElectron beam is converged using a converging apparatus
Cleaner weldsThe welds are cleaner compared to other conventional methods of welding
Table: Comparison between Laser welding and Electron beam welding

Laser welding vs Ultrasonic welding

The table below shows the comparison between laser welding and ultrasonic welding

Laser WeldingUltrasonic Welding
Uses a monochromatic beam of light for welding purposesUses vibrating electrode for welding purposes
The rate at which material is removed is highMaterial removal rate is lower than laser welding
This process allows to penetrate deep in to the metals for weldingPenetration power is low so multiple passes are required to weld thicker plates
No electrode is used for welding purposesNo electrode is used in this type either
The weld strength is highThe strength of weld using ultrasonic welding is lower than the weld strength provided by laser welding
Laser welds can withstand higher amount of currents.The amount of current that it can withstand is lesser
Table: Comparison Between Laser Welding and Ultrasonic Welding

Spot welding vs laser welding

Spot welding as the name suggests contains a weld in the form of small bead or dot. The table below shows the comparison between spot welding and laser welding

Laser WeldingSpot Welding
It uses a beam of laser to weld.Uses a metal strip and electrode for welding purposes
The welding takes place at a faster rate than resistance spot weldingThe process is slower than laser welding
Better weld qualityThe quality of weld is not like laser welding it is slightly lower in quality.
Repeatability is also better of laser weldingRepeatability is not like that of laser weldingCannot be used for every jobIt can weld sheets of metals which are thinTable : Comparison between Laser welding and Spot welding

Laser welding vs plasma welding

The table below shows comparison between laser welding and plasma welding.

Laser WeldingPlasma Welding
A laser beam of high intensity is used to generate heat in the area that needs to be weld.It uses a high density plasma arc beam as the heat source to weld the metal sheets
It can be compared to MIG welding to produce hybrid welds.It can alone be used to produce high density welds with low stress concentration
High penetration abilityIt also has a high penetration ability
Inert gas is requiredInert gas is used to shield the weld pool
No special environment is neededSpecial environment is required
Table: Comparison between laser welding and plasma welding

Laser welding vs resistance welding

The table below shows the comparison between laser welding and resistance welding –

Laser WeldingResistance Welding
Produces only fusion weldProduces three types of weld- solid state, fusion and braze
External weld is produced by this type of processAn internal weld can be produced by using resistance welding.
The welding procedure employs a high intensity laser beamThe welding procedure employs the heat generated by electrical resistance between the metal sheets when electric current is applied to them.
High penetrationThe penetration is not that deep as compared to laser welding
Table: Comparison between Laser welding and Resistance welding

Summary

In this article we compared laser welding with other welding techniques. We could see clearly that laser welding has majorly an upper hand over other welding techniques due to its high penetration power and ability to generate high amount of heat at a single spot.

Abhishek

Hi ....I am Abhishek Khambhata, have pursued B. Tech in Mechanical Engineering. Throughout four years of my engineering, I have designed and flown unmanned aerial vehicles. My forte is fluid mechanics and thermal engineering. My fourth-year project was based on the performance enhancement of unmanned aerial vehicles using solar technology. I would like to connect with like-minded people.

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