Several Laser Technologies in Aerospace – Advantages and Typical Applications

The application of modern laser technology in the aerospace field is mainly in cutting, welding, cladding, cleaning and other aspects.  


1. Laser cutting

Same as other advanced industry, the laser cutting of components into various sizes and shapes is also important to the aerospace industry. High-strength aluminium alloys are often used in this industry, and a perfect finish and low heat-affect zone is also required. There wasn’t a way to achieve the demanding effect until we have laser cutting machine as the perfect solution for this.

In the manufacture of aerospace equipment, the fuselage cover is made of special metal materials with high strength, high hardness, high temperature resistant. The traditional cutting method is hard to conduct processing for these materials, while laser cutting can efficiently process the aircraft skin, honeycomb structure, framework, wings, empennage plate, main rotor of helicopter, engine box and flame tube, etc.  Laser cutting allows for a level of precision that was previously not thought possible; meaning parts and components are produced with a higher level of accuracy and, ultimately, safety. This is no doubt the most important factor for aerospace manufacturing.


2. Laser welding

In the aerospace industry, electron beam welding is used for many parts. Laser welding is being used instead because the operation does not need to be done in a vacuum.  For a long time, riveting technology was used for the connection between aircraft components for the main reason that the aluminum alloy used in aircraft structure is heat-treated strengthened aluminum alloy. Once we use conventional fusion welding, the heat treatment strengthening effect will vanish, which might cause crack under certain circumstances. The adoption of laser welding technology overcomes such problems and greatly simplifies the manufacturing process of aircraft fuselage, reducing the weight of the fuselage by 18% and the cost by 21.4% ~ 24.3%. Laser welding technology is a technological revolution in the aircraft manufacturing industry and indeed, the advent of fiber laser technology has allowed older welding methods to be retired in this industry.


3. Laser cladding

Laser cladding is an important surface modification technology for materials.  In the field of aviation, the price of spare parts for aeromotors is very high, so in many cases it is more cost-effective to repair the parts.  But the quality of the repaired parts must meet the safety requirements.  For example, when there is damage on the surface of an aircraft propeller blade, it must be repaired through some surface treatment technology.  In addition to the high strength and high fatigue resistance required by propeller blades, the corrosion resistance must also be considered. Besides the functional parts of an engine, laser cladding can also be used to form the internal parts too. Air conditioning, belt buckles, heating elements and cockpit equipment can all be made using additive manufacturing, and this technology is widely used because of the lighter weights that can be achieved.


4. Laser cleaning

Laser cleaning systems have long been used in the aviation industry. The surfaces of the aircraft have to be repainted after a certain period of time, and before the re-paint, the old paint has to be completely removed. The traditional mechanical paint removal method would do damage to the metal surface of aircraft, which brings hidden danger to the safety of flight. With multiple laser cleaning equipment working simultaneously, the paint layer can be completely removed from the surface of an A320 Airplane in two days without damaging the metal surface.


SENFENG LEIMING LASER are providing different laser solutions, not only for aerospace industries, but also all other field related to metal processing. Please contact us to renew your production and help us realize our vision: Make Laser an Essential Equipment for Metal Processing!


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