The Tailor:Weld project aims to develop:
- Suitable tailored energy distributions for a range of selected applications,
- A validated process method for determining tailored energy distributions for future applications, and
- A (prototype) laser welding head which is capable of incorporating interchangeable DOEs depending upon the requirements of the work piece (e.g. analogous to interchangeable tool dies used in the metal forming industry).
In order to effectively execute the project, the consortium partners will deliver the following objectives in three phases – research, technology development and demonstration:
- Generate detailed data on laser welding with tailored energy distributions for a range of industrially relevant materials and joint combinations in the target markets.
- Produce validated thermo-physical semi-analytical models for conduction limited and keyhole laser welding, which is capable of modelling the resulting weld shape for end-user specified joints.
Technology development objectives
- Using the results of Objective 1, produce, test and validate a series of DOEs. Demonstrating at least a 50% decrease in weld cycle-time compared to existing processes.
- Design and prototype a DOE laser welding head module which: allows the easy interchanging of DOEs, can integrate with commercially available laser welding process heads, and incorporates process monitoring for Quality Assurance purposes.
- Using the result of Objective 2, develop a DOE design tool which has a bespoke GUI to enable specification of energy distributions from the model for end-user specified joints in less than 30 minutes.
- Integrate the DOE laser welding head module into a laser welding head(s) and laser source, and perform demonstrations of laser welding using the Tailor:Weld system in a production environment.
- Perform a detailed techno-economic analysis of the results, in terms of weld quality and properties, to be presented as case-studies to compare tailored energy distributions to existing methods, including full operating cost analysis.