High power laser technology has been strongly highlighted as a future welding process for the automotive industry, particularly for welding the car body structure. The main reasons are:
Higher tensile and fatigue strength in the welded joint (stronger body)
More stable and improved body tolerances
Higher finish quality
New design potential
To fully utilise this potential and to minimise the constraints of the laser welding process, there is a need for full-scale application tests. These must be performed within the automotive companies i.e. in the pilot plant.
Technological and production system related risks must be eliminated or minimised prior to series production and this has been done in a short period of time.
For two years now the new Volvo 850 is the only car on the market where the roof is laser welded by using a Pressure Roller Device, PRD. The PRD is used to fix the sheets together during the welding operation. The welding process has been improved and optimised under production conditions.