Laser technology plays an incredibly important role in many industries. It is of particular importance to automotive manufacturers, who make use of it on a daily basis for the creation of their vehicles. Here are two specific ways that lasers are used by these manufacturers to build cars.  

To cut car panels

The sheets of metal which are used to create a vehicle's body panels (such as its boot, wings, fenders, bumpers and roof) need to be precisely cut so that they fit together perfectly. In this situation, a panel whose dimensions are 'off' by just a millimetre or two will not fit.

As such, these sheets of metal are never cut manually, as this would significantly increase the risk of human error affecting the end results; instead, a technique called laser cutting is used for this process. The laser is connected to a computer, which contains all of the dimensions for each panel. The laser then cuts the metal sheeting to the size specified by the computer; it does this by directing an extremely hot laser beam at the metal. The heat slices through the metal, leaving clean, precise edges.

To weld together metal components

Traditional welding has long since been replaced by laser beam welding in many automotive manufacturing facilities. This is because the latter can be almost entirely automated; this automation means that employees who once had to devote their time to welding tasks can now focus on other work. This, in turn, has led to increases in overall productivity and efficiency levels in many facilities.

Its popularity can also be attributed to the level of precision it can deliver; laser beam welding technology produces consistently high-quality results, causing little to no warping of the metal components.

Laser beam welding involves using a piece of robotic equipment (which has been programmed to move in specific directions, for specific amounts of time) to direct a laser beam at two components which need to be joined together.

The heat from the laser beam temporarily melts the parts of the components that need to be welded; the two pieces are then pushed together whilst still in their liquid state, after which the laser beam is removed and they are allowed to solidify in this connected position.

In automotive manufacturing facilities, this form of laser technology is routinely used to weld together everything from the fuel injector and transmission parts to the many components which make up a car engine.