American Machinist

Lasers that weld to double at Ford. (Ford Motor Co.)

Lasers that weld to double at Ford

Laser welding installations are expected to more than double at Ford Motors's transmission and chassis plants over the next three-four years, says Richard W. Locker, section supervisor, Mfg Engrg, at the Livonia, Mich, plant. Already numbering 19 at this plant alone, 18 for production and one for development work, the lineup ahead includes two 14-kW [CO.sub.2] lasers from United Technologies, which, Locker believes, will be the highest output lasers anywhere in a mass production operation: welding torque-converter housings.

Laser welding at the Livonia plant, in fully automated setups that sometimes include precision forming of one or two of the parts to be joined, dates back to 1984. Each production installation is dedicated to a specific assembly, runs untended, and is monitored by a single operator. …

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