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Tuesday, December 11, 2018 

Papenburg-based shipbuilding group Meyer Werft has teamed up with Laser Zentrum Hannover (LZH), Held Systems Deutschland and Laserline to develop a pure laser welding process for shipbuilding steel.

The processes for joining maritime steel components have a great development potential in terms of production costs and productivity: the frequently used submerged arc welding is comparatively slow and involves significant workpiece distortion. Laser-arc hybrid welding, as an alternative process, requires labour-intensive edge preparation and is not very flexible.

Particularly for large steel sheet thicknesses in the range of 12mm to 30mm, no method has been able to prevail against submerged arc welding.

Scientists at LZH, together with their partners want to develop robust, pure laser welding processes, especially for thick metal sheet welding in the maritime sector.

For this purpose, the project partner Laserline will realise new diode laser beam sources with a maximum output power of up to 60kW in continuous-wave mode. The aim of the project is to achieve high-quality joints with high welding speeds. The partners want to reduce the costs for edge preparation and the amount of additional material compared to existing joining methods. In that way, the costs shall be reduced eventually. The new processes shall complement or even replace the existing ones.

The application-oriented development takes place in parallel in a laser laboratory and in a shipyard-like test environment. This makes it possible to quickly test, evaluate and optimize processes.

The partners are keen to develop concepts for ensuring laser safety for very high laser output powers of up to 60kW. This includes the handling of the expected large quantities of emitted hazardous substances. To this end, the LZH also comprehensively investigates the release of hazardous substances from the laser processing zone.

The joint project Thick Metal Sheet Welding by High-Power Diode Lasers for Maritime Applications (DIOMAR) is being carried out by Meyer Werft GmbH & Co. KG, Held Systems Germany GmbH, Laserline GmbH and the LZH. DIOMAR is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

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