the offered time-saving and material economy benefits being particularly attractive for automobile manufacturers. Due to laser welding being a

key process in the production of batteries and motors for electric vehicles, the number of possible applications of OCT monitoring is increasing further with the ongoing global transition towards emission-free transport, and the resulting emergence of the e-mobility market. Among these are the welding

of power storage and power train components, such as copper hairpins in the stator of an electric motor. It has been shown that OCT technology can be successfully used for fast and exact localisation of hairpins, and fast quantitative quality assessment of the weld bead during processing. The benefit of OCT over other inspection techniques here is

enough to guarantee a sufficient bonding cross section for a minimum resistance and maximum strength, while not penetrating through the busbar into the highly sensitive battery cell. Lessmüller Lasertechnik has tested this with alumina material (2.0mm Al onto 1.2mm Al) at a penetration depth of around 2.6mm. OCT technology was used for the online measurement of the weld depth during processing, and achieved results that matched those later obtained with microscopic images taken of the weld cross section. OCT is a potential technology

for enabling the growing use of electrical propulsion systems in aircraft, as, like automotive, new laser processes with the highest precision and reproducibility will be required in their manufacture. Together with the industrialisation of OCT for laser

“It has been shown that OCT can be successfully used for fast and exact localisation of hairpins, and quantitative quality assessment of the weld bead “

that it offers not only three- dimensional visualisation of the hairpins, but also direct real-time height measurements. The exact height of each pin is crucial for the adjustment of the focus and power density of the processing beam, which enables the copper to be welded with minimised heat input and without spatter. The height difference of the hairpin couple before and after welding gives an insight into the volume of molten metal, which, together with the other measured surface profile parameters of the bond, are determining factors for the hairpins’ weld quality, which in turn is essential to ensure proper electrical efficiency and mechanical strength. Another application in the

e-mobilty sector is the welding of busbars in various material combinations and geometries. The weld has to be profound

welding, the development of industrial solutions for sequential online pre-, in- and post-process control with OCT are ongoing. An essential future development will be the use of OCT keyhole depth data for closed-loop laser power control to maintain constant weld depth. All these potential merits of

OCT and the 3D nature of its data, make it in many respects superior to traditional process monitoring technologies. It empowers highly productive and flexible production-line layouts with increased throughput and yield. OCT makes welding in series production faster, more accurate, and thus more cost-effective than currently achievable with today’s conventional sensor technology. l

Dr Nataliya Deyneka-Dupriez is the technical editor of Lessmüller Lasertechnik


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