Zeroing In on High-Purity Gases for St. Louis Laser Welding


Lasers were first hypothesized by none other than 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 employed to weld polymers. These days, Cee Kay Supply, Inc., one of better than 150 PurityPlus® Partners at 600 locations nationwide, is happy to be a trusted St. Louis supplier of the high-purity specialty gases so necessary to the gas laser welding process. Our main customers are considerably automated high-volume manufacturers. Those engaged in the automotive industry are perhaps the most visible examples of such.

A gaggle of gas laser rudiments:

  • Resonator gases are usually an admixture 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 protect 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 tends to be mixed with helium, oxygen, or carbon dioxide, which markedly improves 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 very high-powered laser welding.
  • PurityPlus® carbon dioxide, while frequently used by itself to operate CO2 lasers, is better intermixed with helium and nitrogen so as to realize the very high laser powers mandatory for laser cutting and welding.
  • PurityPlus® nitrogen, expressly as an intermediary with CO2, is also helpful in obtaining very high laser powers.
  • PurityPlus® argon, an inert gas and thus first-rate as a shielding gas in laser welding, affords total protection against ambient air. Given that it usually assists in plasma generation, it should not be used for laser powers above 3 kW.

Regardless of your specific laser welding application here in St. Louis, you can rest assured we offer the PurityPlus® specialty gases with the certified high- or ultra-high purity necessary to accomplish it. Contact Cee Kay Supply, Inc. today.