The current state in the application of lasers for cutting and welding is reviewed. Most cutting operations are performed on specifically developed laser machine tools such as the Trumpf Lasercell and its application in the development of trim shapes and low volume panel production at a sub‐contract toolmaker is described. Robots are mainly used with lasers for welding, particularly of vehicle body components where laser welds are found to be advantageous in reducing material weight and improving body strength. One example is the production of differing thickness panels and a robotic installation for producing car door inners is described. The benefits of the new generation of Nd:YAG power lasers are listed, including the ability to transmit the laser beam via fibre optic cables. This is particularly advantageous when robots are used to manipulate the “torch” and a new robot cell from Trumpf is described. Finally, the role of gases in laser processing is discussed.
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