A compact, multi-sensor laser scanning head for processing and monitoring micro-spot welding
In order to improve the reliability of micro-spot welding of metal parts in production such as e.g. in electron guns for TV picture tubes, real-time information about the evolution of the welding process should be available to allow on-line modification of the laser parameters. Such information can be derived from a set of sensors that are mounted on a laser-scanning head. Different sensors are used to monitor the optical fiber output power to determine the evolution of temperature during the spot welding process, to measure plasma emission and back-reflected laser light. A vision channel and a CCD camera are used to control the position of the laser spot on the parts to be processed. The compact scanning head is composed of a tip/tilt laser scanner, a collimating lens and a focusing lens. The scanner is fast steering, with a bandwidth of 700Hz, and can tilt by +/-3.5 degrees with a repeatability better than 50 mu rad. The settling time for maximum deflection is less than 10ms. The scanning lens is a newly developed focusing lens designed to replace commercial cumbersome scanning lenses such as F-theta lenses, which have large volume, weight and price. This lens is based on the well-known Cooke triplet design and guarantees a constant shape of the spot all over the scan surface and is specially well suited for high power beam delivery. The scan field achieved by the system is limited to 25mm x 25mm. The laser used for this application is a pulsed Nd:YAG laser delivered by an optical fiber to the optical head. However, the system can be adapted to different types of lasers. Laser micro-spot welding on copper substrate has been performed in the frame of the Brite-Euram project MAIL. Smaller tolerances (a factor of 2 less) on the spot diameters were obtained in the case of a sensor controlled operation compared to the case where sensor control is not used.