Laser welding uses the concentrated energy of a laser beam to melt the contact surface between the two parts that are to be joined. Unlike traditional welding, this does not involve the combustion of any hydrocarbons, which means a saving in the Timișoara plant in Romania alone of almost 700,000 liters of LPG a year.
Other benefits are its high reliability and process stability. “These are the result of the computer-controlled operation,” explains Dominik Kempf, head of R&D for air-conditioning lines.
This technology, which was first introduced for series production in Romania after very careful testing, enables the ends of lines to be welded to connectors and valves. “The high quality of the finished parts convinced our customers to opt for our laser-welded products,” declares Kempf.
One of the major benefits of the technology is the significant improvement in the internal and external cleanliness of the parts, since welding flux is no longer needed. This has enabled the process stage to clean the parts after welding to be dispensed with.
Following the successful introduction in Romania, Continental will now be investing further to increase capacity in Timișoara and make it possible to use laser welding at other sites, too.