Homing In on High-Purity Gases for Pittsburgh Laser Welding


Lasers were first posited by – wouldn't you know it – Albert Einstein at the dawn of the 20th century. It wasn’t until the 1980s, though, that lasers were employed to solder lead in electronic component circuit boards. And it wasn’t until 2002 that CO2 lasers were used to weld polymers. Nowadays, Butler Gas Products , one of better than 150 PurityPlus® Partners at 600 locations across the country, is pleased to be a trusted Pittsburgh producer of the high-purity specialty gases so important to the gas laser welding process. Our primary customers are heavily automated high-volume manufacturers. Those involved in the automotive industry are maybe the most visible examples of such.

A few gas laser factoids:

  • Resonator gases are commonly an admixture of helium (He), carbon dioxide (CO2), and nitrogen (N2). The active gas that actually generates the laser light itself – infrared radiation – is CO2.
  • Shielding gases keep the weld area free of oxygen and water vapor, which helps increase the speed and quality of the welding process. Argon is the most common shielding gas. It tends to be mixed with helium, oxygen, or carbon dioxide, which seriously improves its plasma suppression properties.
  • As a resonator gas, ultra-high-purity (99.999%) PurityPlus® helium delivers remarkably high thermal conductivity, the better to conduct heat away from the electric discharge. This makes it an excellent choice for truly high-powered laser welding.
  • PurityPlus® carbon dioxide, while much used on its own to operate CO2 lasers, is better combined with helium and nitrogen so as to achieve the very high laser powers needed for laser cutting and welding.
  • PurityPlus® nitrogen, expressly as an intermediary with CO2, is also advantageous to achieving 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 normally assists in plasma generation, it should not be used for laser powers above 3 kW.

No matter what your particular laser welding application here in Pittsburgh, you can rest easy knowing we offer the PurityPlus® specialty gases with the certified high- or ultra-high purity needed to carry it off. Contact Butler Gas Products today.