Corus invests ?2m in laser joining R&D

Metals multinational Corus is to commission a new, ?2m facility for studying the next generation of automotive laser welding and brazing techniques at its R&D centre in Ijmuiden, Netherlands. The company says that, as long recognised by racecar builders, a continuous seam, whether produced by direct laser welding, traditional brazing or the latest laser-assisted brazing techniques, produces a stronger weld than a traditional seam of resistance spot welds, and thus a stiffer structure

Corus invests ?2m in laser joining R&D

The new R&D facility, which already has a full schedule of automotive R&D programmes, will provide Corus with an off-line capability to investigate the cost, safety, weight and cosmetic benefits of laser welding, and to be directly involved in the growing area of laser brazing, an innovative new joining technique which is now starting to be exploited by the automotive sector. Corus anticipates that there will be a growing trend by vehicle manufacturers globally to adopt laser brazing and welding, with German makers in particular pushing hard for these joining technologies.

The new centre will allow Corus to determine the performance of materials during these processes, and to research the effect of different coatings and pre-treatments. It will house 4.5kW 'Nd:YAG' (neodymium-yttrium aluminium garnet) and 6kW carbon dioxide lasers, which have the ability to cut and weld steel, aluminium and other materials of different thickness, as well as parts ranging from flat panels to complex 3D components.

Corus CTO Peter Jongenburger said: "The automotive industry is continually looking at ways to improve its manufacturing processes that lead to stronger and safer vehicles. Laser welding and brazing offer a number of strength and safety benefits over traditional welding techniques. A stiffer body structure also leads to improved vehicle handling, and a driver behind the wheel of a more responsive car has significantly enhanced active safety."

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