Understanding Laser-Welding Technology and Applications

Learn how laser welder technology can change the way you make jewelry and increase your revenue.

Last edited: 1/29/2020
Neutec laser welder repairing jewelry

What is laser welding?

Laser welding uses an amplified beam of light to produce a solid weld with an almost invisible seam in seconds. It sounds complicated but is really quite simple. Laser welding uses a specific wavelength of light to accomplish the welding process.

The beam of light emitted from a laser welder is concentrated, adjusted and controlled by the operator, in much the same way as the flame of a soldering torch is regulated by a jeweler. However, compared to soldering, laser welding is faster, cleaner and more cost-effective for many manufacturing and repair applications.

What metals can be welded with a laser welder?

All the traditional jewelry metals can be laser welded:

  • all base metals
  • karat gold
  • sterling silver
  • titanium
  • palladium
  • platinum

Platinum, historically one of the most difficult metals to work with and repair, is one of the easiest metals to laser weld. Welding different metals together is also possible, for example gold to platinum and sterling silver to gold.

How difficult is it to operate a laser welding machine?

The jewelry laser welders we offer are extremely user-friendly. These machines have a short learning curve so any entry-level jewelry personnel can be quickly and easily trained to perform basic welding applications. While there is no substitute for an experienced bench jeweler, many repairs that traditionally could have only been handled by a jeweler can now be completed by other members of your shop staff. Experienced jewelers who have laser welders generally find that it takes between 10–20 hours of hands-on practice using the laser welder to become proficient for all their standard applications.

With this basic understanding of what laser welding is and what metals can be welded, the big questions are: "How does this technology apply to my manufacturing or repair operation?" and "How do I make money with this capital equipment?" Keep reading for the answers to these questions and to see why you should invest in a jewelry laser welding machine for your business.

How are laser welders used in jewelry manufacturing?

Casting

Even when using high-tech casting machines, a common problem in the casting and manufacturing process is porosity of the metal, which creates pitted castings. Whether the porosity is discovered in the raw casting or in a finished, polished, stone-set piece of jewelry, almost all porosity can be corrected and repaired by adding metal to the porous area using a jewelry laser welder, without removing stones that have already been set.

Repairing cast jewelry pieces with a laser welding machine is quick and easy, and it eliminates the time involved in removing set stones. The time and expense to recast is no longer an issue because there is no need to recast. These applications are just a few of the ways adding a laser welder to your jewelry manufacturing processes will save you time and money while increasing your casting productivity.

Repairing a pendant with the Neutec laser welder
Repairing a pendant with a Neutec® laser welder.

Assembly

Laser welding is easily adaptable to many assembly operations. Since there is no solder involved, there is a substantial savings. Also, laser welding prevents the "halo" effect that can be produced when using a solder. Many traditional assembly methods require wiring or stringing techniques to hold pieces in place prior to soldering. With laser welding, these pieces are now tacked together very quickly, eliminating the time involved in these traditional methods.

Laser welding machines make it easier for jewelry manufacturers to produce a high-quality and near-perfect piece of jewelry. Manufacturers who incorporate jewelry laser welders into their processes find new uses for these machines that boost production and reduce errors.

 

What can a laser welder do in jewelry retail stores?

Antique Jewelry Restoration & Repairs

Antique jewelry typically requires many hours of preparation and set up to remove stones and heat-sensitive materials. Jewelry laser welders produce a small heat zone and most applications, such as sizing and filigree repair can be accomplished without removing heat-sensitive stones, (i.e., opals, emeralds and pearls). Reducing the set-up time and eliminating reassembly time of intricate pieces makes it possible to complete these repairs in a fraction of the time needed for traditional torch methods.

Repairs to Spring Mechanisms

Again, the heat zone is so small and the beam generated by the laser welder is so precise that it will not affect the spring mechanism. This makes it possible to weld euro-wires, lobster clasps and spring rings, and opens income-generating possibilities for watch repairs.

Repairing a ring with a Neutec laser welder
Repairing a ring with a Neutec® laser welder.

Eyeglass Repairs

With a laser welder in your shop or studio, completing eyeglass repairs is quick and easy—you can even repair metals such as titanium. The ability to provide eyeglass repairs opens a brand-new income stream to your jewelry business.

Common Jewelry Repairs

After a small amount of training, your store personnel can accomplish chain repairs, leaving the highly-skilled bench jeweler to handle the more difficult jobs.

Laser welders in the jewelry industry

Laser welding machines are used in small repair shops, retail repair stores, and large manufacturing facilities. The benefits and savings of increased production, elimination of expensive solders, quick turnaround, and time saved all add up to increased revenue. Check out this laser welder ROI calculator to see how investing in a laser welder will boost your business.

The capabilities of jewelry laser welders go beyond the applications given above—repair shops and manufacturers are finding uses for these machines that solve problems specific to their processes. Not sure which laser welder is right for your business? Check out the laser welder comparison chart or take our short quiz and we’ll recommend one.