May 28, 2015 0 Comments in Lasers by

Cleveland Ohio Laser Cutting – Five decades of laser light in automotive

In this International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies, as designated by the United Nations General Assembly, the photonics industry has joined together to announce the importance of light and optical technologies in our lives. Our sister publication Laser Focus World is playing a leading role in this Year of Light—a role not envisioned when they started 50 years ago in 1965.

Ten years from that date, Ford Motor Company made a daring move: the use of a high-power CO2 laser to weld together stampings to form the underbody of a new, “quiet” 1976 Torino. For reasons including the infamous oil embargo that crippled the US auto industry, this car was canceled and the entrance of laser welding into body-in-white manufacture was set back.

Flash ahead 10 years to 1985, when BMW used a 5kW CO2 laser to weld the roof of the new 3-Series touring car—perhaps the first body-shop welding application in the world.

Ten more years and Audi used solid-state lasers to weld the roof and C-pillar on their new A3 series. Also, in 1996, BMW used CO2 laser robots to weld roof-to-side seams of the new 5-Series.

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