Zeroing In on High-Purity Gases for Pittsburgh Laser Welding


Lasers were suggested initially by – wouldn't you know it – Albert Einstein in the early days of the 20th century. It wasn’t until the 1980s, though, that lasers were applied to solder lead in electronic component circuit boards. And it wasn’t until 2002 that CO2 lasers were applied to weld polymers. Today, Greco Gas, one of more than 150 PurityPlus® Partners at 600 locations coast to coast, is proud to be a trusted Pittsburgh supplier of the high-purity specialty gases so crucial to the gas laser welding process. Our main customers are majorly automated high-volume manufacturers. Those associated with the automotive industry are likely the most identifiable examples of such.

A sampling of gas laser rudiments:

  • Resonator gases are commonly a mix of helium (He), carbon dioxide (CO2), and nitrogen (N2). The active gas that in fact engenders the laser light itself – infrared radiation – is CO2.
  • Shielding gases isolate the weld area from oxygen and water vapor, which helps jack up the speed and quality of the welding process. Argon is the most prevalent shielding gas. It’s often mixed with helium, oxygen, or carbon dioxide, which seriously enhances its plasma suppression properties.
  • As a resonator gas, ultra-high-purity (99.999%) PurityPlus® helium offers remarkably high thermal conductivity, the better to conduct heat away from the electric discharge. This makes it a great choice for truly high-powered laser welding.
  • PurityPlus® carbon dioxide, while often used alone to control CO2 lasers, is better combined with helium and nitrogen so as to attain the very high laser powers required for laser cutting and welding.
  • PurityPlus® nitrogen, particularly as an intermediary with CO2, is also helpful in obtaining very high laser powers.
  • PurityPlus® argon, an inert gas and thus superb as a shielding gas in laser welding, provides full protection against ambient air. Since it usually supports plasma generation, it should not be used for laser powers above 3 kW.

No matter what your specific laser welding application here in Pittsburgh, you can be confident we have the PurityPlus® specialty gases with the certified high- or ultra-high purity necessary to accomplish it. Contact Greco Gas today.