Laser welding is fast and enables high quality joining of thin sheets
Compared to traditional welded structures, sandwich structures have the following benefits:
- Steel savings; particularly important with expensive steels (stainless steel, armour steel).
- Weight saving; in moving applications lower energy consumption, easier assembly etc. Possibly also derived benefits such as lighter support structures or operating mechanisms.
- High stiffness and low thickness.
- Can often be designed to be self supporting.
- Can be insulated or air conditioned. Electrical or pneumatic plumbing can be routed through them.
Various techniques lend themselves for fabricating sandwich structures, in addition to laser welding, for instance bonding or riveting. Laser welding is a particularly advantageous method of manufacturing sandwich structures because:
- Laser welding is very fast and hence efficient.
- Joining very thin metal sheets is possible. Welding is done through a plate.
- Heat import – and hence distortion – is minimal. The neat weld seams ensure an attractive finish.
- Generally no additives are used.
All-metal sandwich structures are recyclable.