Focusing on High-Purity Gases for Southern California Laser Welding


Lasers were suggested first by no less a person than Albert Einstein at the dawn of the 20th century. It wasn’t until the 1980s, though, that lasers were used to solder lead in electronic component circuit boards. And it wasn’t until 2002 that CO2 lasers were employed to weld polymers. Today, WestAir Specialty Gases and Equipment, one of over 150 PurityPlus® Partners at 600 locations nationwide, is happy to be a trusted Southern California producer of the high-purity specialty gases so necessary to the gas laser welding process. Our key customers are heavily automated high-volume manufacturers. Those associated with the automotive industry are maybe the most conspicuous cases in point.

A smidgen of gas laser fundamentals:

  • Resonator gases are normally a mixture of helium (He), carbon dioxide (CO2), and nitrogen (N2). The active gas that actually engenders 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 more traditional shielding gas. It tends to be mixed with helium, oxygen, or carbon dioxide, which considerably enhances its plasma suppression properties.
  • As a resonator gas, ultra-high-purity (99.999%) PurityPlus® helium provides exceptionally high thermal conductivity, the better to conduct heat away from the electric discharge. This makes it a great choice for really high-powered laser welding.
  • PurityPlus® carbon dioxide, while often used by itself to control CO2 lasers, is better mixed with helium and nitrogen so as to attain the very high laser powers required 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 great as a shielding gas in laser welding, provides complete protection against ambient air. Given that it typically supports plasma generation, it should not be used for laser powers above 3 kW.

Regardless of your particular laser welding application here in Southern California, you can be sure we offer the PurityPlus® specialty gases with the certified high- or ultra-high purity needed to carry it off. Contact WestAir Specialty Gases and Equipment today.