Alpha Laser increased efficiency and saved hundreds of thousands of dollars for SRG Global, a tier-one automotive parts supplier, with laser welding of a 2-shot mold at their facility in Covington, Georgia.
Problem: Plastic injection parts rejected due to cosmetic flash
SRG Global contacted Alpha Laser US for a demonstration on live tooling for a 2-shot mold that was causing a cosmetic flash issue, which resulted in product rejections. The factory mold was almost 40,000 pounds, so there was no question that we would have to make the repair on site in the molding press at their plant in Georgia. We chose our Alpha Laser Alflak Max 300 watt laser welder for the job because of its extreme reach and flexibility.
For previous repairs to this mold, SRG would:
- Remove the mold from the press, including all wiring, plumbing, crane and robotic arms: 1-2 days.
- Transport mold to outside welding facility where the repairs would take place: 1 day.
- Mold repair at facility: 1 day to 1 week (depending on complexity of repair and workload at facility)..
- Send mold to machine shop for machining and spotting: 1 week
- Transport mold back to Plant in Georgia: 1 day.
- Reinstall mold on press and resume production: 1-2 days
- Total downtime: 2-4 weeks.
Repairing the auto parts mold with laser welding
An Alpha Laser technician arrived at the SRG Global plant in Georgia with our Alflak Max as soon as possible after receiving the call. The Alflak Max is equipped with a caterpillar drive which allows the technician to drive the laser welder directly to the side of the press. Once next to the press the Alflak Max can reach 9 feet, well into the press and into the area where the tooling is damaged.
When our technician’s job was done, a Toolmaker benched the excess weld off to bring the defective area into tolerance. In its entirety, the pulse laser weld repair took less than 4 hours from the time our technician arrived at the plant, allowing production to resume the same day.
The benefits of laser welding to repair a mold on site
The Alpha Laser Alflak Max 300 watt pulsed laser was able to repair the mold’s cosmetic flash problem in a way traditional TIG welding could not. Because pulse laser welding has the unique ability to control its heat output, repairs are performed directly on the flawed area without collateral damage to other parts of the mold. Traditional arc welding, due to its high heat affected zone (HAZ), would melt the surrounding areas if the mold was welded without removing it from the press. Because the laser is so accurate and adds just the right amount of material, a tool maker can polish the weld by hand without machining it. With the Alflak Max, SRG Global substantially decreased downtime, eliminated shipping costs and resumed productivity quickly.