LPKF is the most experienced laser plastic welding (LPW) company, going back over 18 years when we funded the first basic research into using lasers to join plastic materials. At LPKF we are process driven. We are material scientists and laser plastic welding experts. We are mechanical engineers, software architects and craftsmen. We are innovators and machine builders. LPKF is laser plastic welding domain and process knowledge.
Working with LPKF means you have all of our experience and process knowledge available to solve your most complex joining problems. It is our goal to become an integral part of your team and to help you become an expert at laser plastic welding.
If you are new to laser plastic welding, LPKF has a tutor program designed to help you learn the fundamentals of LPW and modern joint design principals. We’ll review your designs for manufacturability and make design suggestions that assure a robust weld joint.
Design concepts are one thing, but real parts are another. We support and validate your designs with prototype welding so that you can evaluate and test real parts for functionality and performance. We offer welding services to bridge the gap from DV and PV parts to production kickoff. Whether you order a few parts or a few thousand−—No other laser welding company offers this comprehensive service.
LPKF is able to support your product development needs globally with development labs on three continents. Your programs are coordinated locally and supported globally.
Our laser welding solutions are turn-key — meaning that we consider and manage not only the machine aspect, but the details of the design and the process of laser welding.
What follows is our partnership approach to successful global laser welded programs. The sooner you involve LPKF in your process, the better the chance of a successful program. Risks are reduced if we are engaged early in the design phase. Let’s walk through the steps for a successful project.
Laser Plastic Welding Education
You may have come to know us through a trade show, an internet search, the LPW educational website laserplasticwelding.com or a referral from a colleague. We are glad you are here.
It’s easy to come up to speed on the fundamentals of LPW. Visit laserplasticwelding.com, our educational site for self-paced learning to orient yourself to the core principals of LPW, the terminology, material selection guide and the design principals or call us to have a personal review.
An experienced LPKF laser welding engineer is available to spend one-on-one time to train you on the design principals, review your part designs and share our process knowledge. This can be accomplished over the internet or in person at your facility or as part of a lunch-and-learn seminar, whichever works best for you and your team.
Once you are orientated, designing your first laser weldable joint is pretty straightforward. LPKF experts will review your first drafts and recommend changes or enhancements to the design. Our end goal is an efficient design that can be easily molded and welded in mass production.
Prototype and Preproduction Runs
Prototyping provides the data needed to evaluate a design on an actual part. LPKF engineers run a Design of Experiments (DOE) investigating the laser welding parameters to determine the optimal conditions of laser power, speed, contour path and clamping conditions. Prototype welding provides proof of concept parts for testing and confirmation of weldability in mass production.
Prototypes are welded from first molded articles using low cost prototype fixtures run on our development laser systems in one of your global laboratories in the U.S., Europe or Asia.
This phase will test the rib design for weldability and strength, in addition to establishing the preliminary welding parameters. Prototype fixtures are low cost, machined fixtures typically made from acrylic plate or glass for the upper clamp, and aluminum or plastic for the nest. Prototype parts may be tested for strength using pressure bursting for enclosures, tensile or compression testing or by destructive sectioning for visual evaluation of the weld.
Prototype tools have a limited life but can run up to about 500 pieces depending on the complexity of the part and the welding parameters – enough to complete DV and PV testing. Cycle times are also determined at this time, allowing us to match a machine model and configuration with production volumes to your production needs.
After all are satisfied with the tests from the first article welds, production fixtures are designed. Upper clamping fixtures and lower workpiece carriers are part specific and are designed by LPKF to fit the parts and the production machine. A solid model of the final part design and molded parts are needed to design and produce fixtures.
Tooling designs use the patented LPKF Dual Clamping Device™ (DCD™) design whenever possible, to produce parts free of induced stress. Induced stress is stress that is loaded into the part during welding when a part is not clamped at both inner and outer locations on the part. Induced stress is frozen into the part and preloads the part with stresses that weaken the bonds and decrease the robustness of the welds. The DCD™ is a unique clamping system that applies force evenly across the entire part – not just at the edges, while not obstructing the laser beam during welding.
Bridge the Gap From Machine Order to Installation
Using what we learned from the prototyping phase, we will specify and quote a laser welding solution that meets your production ramp up and final annual usage requirements.
LPKF has a cost effective solution to bridge the gap between order placement and machine arrival. If you require more parts for testing, have design changes or need to get a jump on production.
Our Laser Micronics business unit provides contract manufacturing services using LPKF laser welding systems. Laser Micronics features quick turn tooling design, production and part welding services – no better way to get the parts you need, when you need them. Whether you need a few parts or a few thousand for design validation or production verification or to help you secure on order with the OEM, LPKF can help.
Standalone or Integrated Welding Systems
LPKF offers both standalone or integrated laser welding solutions to meet your requirements.
The standalone PowerWeld™ series with integral rotary table is available in three sizes starting with; the PowerWeld™ 2600 for small parts, the PowerWeld™ 6600 for parts up to 500 mm x 350 mm and the option to add double clamping nests for two-up serial welding and cost effective doubling of throughput at a fraction of the cost of two machines, and the newest in our line, the PowerWeld™ 3D 8000, with its massive 1,000 mm x 750 mm working field and the ability to weld large, 3D parts like automotive lights.
The LPKF InLineWeld™ series is the turnkey line for integrators that fills the need for laser welding in an automated assembly workflow. LPKF works with your integrator to co-design a welding solution that integrates into linear track, rotary table, 6-axis robots, pick and place robots and additional assembly steps to meet your automated joining and assembly needs.
The turn key, InlineWeld 6200 or the larger working field InLineWeld 6600 are designed for integration into automated assembly workflows and take the risk out of the welding portion of the workflow. LPKF handles the welding aspects so the integrator can focus on the automation and assembly steps.
If your program does not fit into one of our turnkey, standardized systems, LPKF can create a solution that fits your needs. We got our start as an innovator of custom systems and it remains one of our core competencies today.
Timing, Lead Times & Cost
The design consultations, fixture designs and machine selection/design are all done at no charge to our clients. You pay a small prototype fixture fee to produce the fixture and you are not charged for first test articles or feasibility studies (proof of concept parts).
Preproduction runs and evaluation parts: at 10 -20 parts, you are quoted on an hourly basis of $200/hour lab time.
Preproduction runs are contracted through our contract manufacturing business unit, Laser Micronics, in Fúrth Germany and smaller runs in our Tualatin (Portland), Oregon lab.