Mold Maintenance & Repair

OCT 2016

Mold Maintenance & Repair

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F E AT U R E 16 Mold Maintenance & Repair are a few considerations before investing in a welding machine: Laser welding is easy to learn, at first. A shorter learning curve doesn't mean a welder will be an expert in a matter of weeks. Like ev- erything, it takes time. Welding a flat surface is simple, but welding an edge or a detail around sensitive areas takes time to master. Most laser manufacturers will be able to provide training to help the welder master the basics, as well as share advice on more challenging repairs. Understand the machine's capabilities. Research the capabilities of each machine of interest, including its power, maneuverability and cost to maintain. Seek advice from people who have experience in the field. I recommend not purchasing a machine under 120 watts, since this is too low in power to successfully perform consistent mold repairs. Also, cop- per-based and aluminum materials require higher power ranges to do repairs because of the inherent nature of these materials. Laser welding cannot completely replace TIG welding. Large areas of damage will require such a heavy weld buildup that using a laser welder would be too time-consuming and inef- ficient, such as a damaged area that is 1/4-inch high and wide. Although this can be laser- welded, TIG-welding would be much faster. This is why the welder needs access to both pro- cesses, either through an in-house machine or an experienced outside TIG-welding source. Keep up with technology and new informa- tion. Always search for current information on the latest products and equipment to discov- er more efficient and cost-effective ways of performing mold repairs. Laser technology is constantly evolving as laser welders get more powerful, so it's smart to keep up on industry trends and technology. CONTRIBUTOR: Eric Hild is a laser and micro-TIG welding specialist at Toolweld Inc. For More Information: Toolweld Inc. / 847-854-8013 / 847-809-3959 / FIGURE 4: The laser creates a pulsed microscopic weld puddle that allows weld deposits of a couple thousandths of an inch. FIGURE 3: Laser welding uses a wavelength of light. The laser beam is generated from a fixed point. A microscope allows the operator to see extreme detail.

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