Recently we heard from “Suit Bot Sammy” (aka Samantha Childers), a junior at Monrovia High School (Monrovia, California), thanking us for helping the Monrovia Robotics program with the FIRST Tech Challenge. This is a cool program in which teams of 10+ members in grades 7-12 are challenged to design, build, program, and operate robots to compete in a head-to-head challenge in an alliance format. FIRST Tech Challenge encourages student teams to meet with members of the scientific community, serve the community, and fundraise to meet their goals.
Topics: community service
Recently we had a great opportunity to help the next generation of engineers compete in Formula SAE® Electric, a collegiate competition to conceive, design, fabricate, develop, and compete with small, formula style electric vehicles. The event is sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Our foray into the fast-paced world began when a team from the University of Pennsylvania contacted us after seeing online papers we published on battery tab welding. The team has nearly 100 college students designing and building an electric vehicle, and was working on improvements to their car for next year’s competition.
Topics: battery pack welding
Application engineers are a funny breed. They get their kicks from solving real-life manufacturing challenges – and the thornier the better! They like to get up close and personal with an application and help those having trouble to find the right way to weld, mark, cut, bond or machine a part. They also get a great deal of satisfaction from fixing a process that is taking too much time and affecting output (and the bottom line), one that results in unnecessary scrap or one that is out of limits. If the solution doesn’t work out the first time, they stick with it until they develop a one that works.
Simply put, machine vision is the ability of a computer to “see” and process information about what it “sees;” a camera system is used to acquire an image, which is then processed and used to complete a task. For example, a seam between two parts can be located and laser welded together. The exact position of the seam may vary due to part stack up tolerances; if so, the vision system is used to adjust the welding tool path automatically to match the actual location of the parts.
Topics: machine vision
In hermetic and seam sealing applications utilizing pulsed laser welding, it is critically important that weld spots are evenly spaced, overlapping to form a continuous welded seam. Traditional pulsed laser welding approaches attempt to do this by firing the laser at a constant repetition rate. While this can be made to work along straight lines or other paths that can be traversed at constant speed, the result is sub-optimal and the approach really falls short when welding along irregular contours. For example, it does not work well for hermetically sealed packages, such as implantable medical devices, aerospace sensors or electronics modules.
Are you looking to use lasers for micro welding? If so, you have four excellent options: pulsed neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG) and three different fiber lasers: continuous wave (CW) fiber, quasi continuous wave (QCW) fiber, and nanosecond fiber. In today’s post, I am going to compare the pulsed Nd:YAG laser with the three fiber laser options, and give some general comments on why and when one might be chosen over the other. I’m going to follow that up with another post with more information on how to choose.
How would we survive without battery packs? Whether to power our latest portable electronic device, power tool, or hybrid/electric vehicle, the removable battery pack is essential to our everyday lives. Tab-to-terminal connection is one of the key battery pack welding applications. Manufacturers need equipment, systems, and automated lines that meet quality and production requirements for these products. Resistance and laser technologies are both good options for integration into production lines, either as standalone units or for automated operation.
Topics: battery pack welding
Not long ago I worked on an interesting project with an aerospace customer looking to develop an in-house laser welding process for a major turbine component. Thanks to our joint efforts, they were able to bring the operation in-house, achieving an impressive seven to eleven day cycle reduction. What’s more, the new process helped them reduce their inventory, translating to a large cost savings - all without sacrificing quality.
Topics: laser welding
This fourth installment in our multi-part series exploring micro pulse arc welding (micro TIG welding) focuses on “Touch Start” technology, which requires much lower voltage than the standard DC start system. Low voltage operation means no high frequency noise emission.
This is the third entry in our multi-part series exploring micro pulse arc welding welding. Today we will cover troubleshooting – tips for improving your results when you’ve followed all the recommended setup tips and you’re still getting spurious results, inconsistencies, or part shrinkage.