Today’s post is about using “teach mode,” a fairly standard software function that enables a laser operator to customize tool paths without having to write complex code. This feature aids the operator when there is significant part to part tolerance issues. Here’s an example of how teach mode works for a complex tool path:
In this example, a top plate (lid) is to be laser welded to the bottom plate (base). The red lines on the photo show the ideal tool path.
The part is positioned under the laser focus head and scanned using a pre-defined tool path. An on-axis camera is used to view the two parts and cross hairs are set for the laser will fire. The scan of the tool path stops at set locations and the operator adjusts – or teaches – the desired positions using point and click to align the cross hair overlap to the weld position. Point and click positioning makes weld location simple and precise.
After the operator completes the tool entry process, the new tool path is scanned again to verify it is correct before firing up the laser and welding the seam.
Teach mode can be used for any kind of weld, but is most often used for butt welds where spot/seam placement is critical. It is especially useful for parts with a complex tool path.
Consider using teach mode for R&D purposes – say when an operator is working with various non-production parts just to prove a process – or for production purposes when parts vary just enough that they might be out of tolerance if the operator just ran a program.
Voila! If you want to see laser system teach mode in action, check out this video.