The 4D WeldWatcher is best suited as a reliable and complete solution for quality control in laser welding, cutting and brazing. This online monitoring system is used in many areas of industrial production:
- Automobile construction
- Power generation technology
- Electrical engineering
- System construction
- Consumer goods
Partially ionized metal vapour is created during laser welding, cutting or soldering. This escapes from the weld pool and emits a broadband light, the so-called process light. The WeldWatcher measures this process light using a photo-electric sensor. By doing so, typical features, such as the beam flux density, spectral components, time or progress are analyzed and used for quality control.
The components of the WeldWatcher are, in addition to the sensor electronics, an industrial computer with a measurement processing unit, as well as interfaces for data storage, data transfer and communication with the PLC (Programmable Logic Controller). The evaluation of the current measurement signals is performed by comparison with the stored reference signals using the envelope or threshold method.
The WeldWatcher sensors are integrated into the laser with an adapter. For newer lasers this is usually available, or it can be retrofitted simply and affordable by the laser manufacturer. The sensor can be programed easily and can be adapted quickly to any monitoring task. By fitting the sensor into the laser, contamination, damage or misalignment are prevented. In addition, only one WeldWatcher is required per laser, even if it is used in time sharing with several optical fibers in a range of processing stations. In such cases, the process light fed back by the active fiber into the laser is passed before the resonator to the WeldWatcher sensor. However, for special applications one or more sensors can be built directly into the processing head.
The WeldWatcher communicates with the welding system, depending on the customer’s wishes, via the industrial bus systems ProfiBus®, ProfiNet®, DeviceNet®, EtherCAT® or other protocols. For simple applications, digital I/O modules can also be used. Where the customer wishes, a signal exchange can also be performed through an application-specific protocol. With its high-speed evaluation and communication the WeldWatcher can also be used for time-critical applications without clock-cycle loss.
As part of the automatic evaluation of the process signal in the serial production, the result is shown with distinguishing colored marks in one or more welding group images. The graphical visualization shows the operator the test for the welding seam that is notified as being faulty. The WeldWatcher can also be used for a parameter optimization during set-up work, where the change to the process parameters is immediately reflected in the signals.
The evaluation software operates under Windows and is available in a range of languages. The menu guidance was developed in close collaboration with our customers. Particular attention was given to the requirements of the machine operators, so as to achieve a high level of system acceptance. The clearly structured user interfaces make the operator training easier. Various password-protected levels allow a tiered access to each release stage.
A core element of the data processing is a database, which can store several million data sets for each application. The database operates maintenance-free on the FIFO principle (“first in, first out”). With extensive subroutines, it is possible to retroactively display component-specific monitoring data again. Visualization stations installed at reworking stations can call up data from one or more WeldWatchers via a network and display it grouped for the components being reworked. Use-specific security routines are available for the export and long-term storage of the data.
With its open software architecture the WeldWatcher can already be used optimally for many standard applications. In addition, and depending on the customer-specific requirements, additional functions can be implemented quickly and affordable into the software.
- 19″ industrial PC
- Windows 7 or Windows 10 operating system
- One line interface (only one sensor cable up to 75 m in length)
- Programmable sensor
- One sensor system (no space required at the optics)
- Automatic operation and set-up operation for process optimization
- Application-specific evaluation algorithms
- Direct, observable visualization of the results
- Long-term data storage
- PLC interfaces (configurable)
- Server/client operation
- Protective glass monitoring
- Automatic data transfer for operational data recording
- Display of all results for a component at reworking stations
- Back-up/emergency laser operation
- Automatic adjustment at the various processing steps of a system (welding, smoothing)
- Evaluation for pulsed welds
- Database requests for the error status of a sub-assembly
- Fast and easy installation, no adjustment required
- No system rebuilding required
- Standard adapter in the laser with manufacturer approval, partially retro-fittable
- One sensor per laser is sufficient, also at multiple processing stations
- No sensors in the welding area for the optics, no risk of collision
- Automatic setting (for a range of welding operations)
For laser brazing the process monitoring with WeldWatcher includes the combined evaluation of process radiation and wire feeding. Faults, such as height and lateral misalignment, wire supply faults or volume and geometric deviations can be identified immediately and notified to the system controller.
A further major area of application for the WeldWatcher is the monitoring of pulsed welds. The requirement for a visual component inspection lies in the large number of pieces for brief weld durations. The WeldWatcher enables a fast and automatic monitoring of each individual pulse (single welding) or a series of pulses (burst). Through this, it is possible to immediately identify material and location deviations of the joining partners and process-related welding errors.
The WeldWatcher can also be used for the process monitoring in laser combination processes, such as hybrid welding. It is also suitable for varying monitoring tasks. Through its programmable sensors, which can be automatically adjusted within a few milliseconds, it becomes possible, for example, to switch from deep welding to downstream smoothing welding.
Normally it only takes a few minutes to integrate the sensors into the laser, so that production only has to be interrupted briefly.
The WeldWatcher operates maintenance-free. Neither additional sensor adjustment nor replacement of sensor protective glass are necessary.
Remote maintenance is offered as an option for all systems installed worldwide. In addition, we offer consulting and training, which through our experience will result in optimized processes and increased productivity.
No, for most laser types only one WeldWatcher is required per beam source, even if it is used in time sharing with several optical fibers.
The number is unlimited. For some customers over 500 different weld seams are monitored by only one device.
All signals and information for a monitored weld seam are automatically stored in a database. This operates on the FIFO principle and can also store production data for longer periods. The monitoring results are, as wished, sent automatically to a production data acquisition (PDA) system.
All WeldWatchers can, as the customer wishes, be equipped with one bus-master card or several slave cards, which then communicate with the system controller.
All monitoring results can be visualized in welding group images. Several images can be saved for each WeldWatcher. The active image in each case is automatically loaded in the foreground. The results are shown in the welding group images with various marks (e.g. red “not correct”, green “correct” or grey “not welded”).
No, all WeldWatchers can be used as a server for one or more visualization stations, on which the monitoring results can then also be displayed. The data transfer takes place over Ethernet (TCP/IP). Advantages for the user: Fewer screens are required in the production, as relevant information can be summarized part-specifically.
For all backup cases 4D offers functionally capable, automated solutions. The spectrum ranges from switching on the sensor on a replacement laser through to mutual securing of several beam sources.
Procedure and Process Optimizations
Often the parameters for a laser manufacturing process are determined in the laboratory in advance. For an optimal processing efficiency these parameters must be optimized when preparing the series component. For this, 4D offers expert production support on site to minimize errors and create a secure process window through quality evaluation, and researching the causes of errors.
The range of training offers doesn't just cover specific information for products sold by 4D, but also general training for the laser material processing. Training is provided at the customer’s site, in order to offer employees a training with the most practical relevance to their products. In the course of this training our colleagues explain the wide range of possible parameters for laser welding and provide training on concrete measures for process optimization.
The WeldWatcher is highly versatile and can be used in all industry sectors. Whether for laser welding, laser material processing, diode lasers or fiber lasers, the WeldWatcher monitors all laser processing stations involved in welding, brazing or cutting. To do so usually one WeldWatcher per laser is enough – even for monitoring hundreds of seams or points.
Areas of application include automotive parts for suppliers to the automotive industry, e.g. manufacturers of car seats, airbags, body components or vehicle electronics. The 4D WeldWatcher is commonly used for the quality monitoring for components and electric motors used in consumer goods and electronics manufacturing.
Satisfied customers and suppliers are the best reference. In the following you will find a brief selection from the list of firms, with whom we have a successful and mutual business partnership.
A Selection from our List of Customers
ABB, AREVA, ASIC, Audi, AWL, Behr, Blum, BMW, BOA, BorgWarner, Bosch, Brose, Comau, Continental, Danfoss, EADS, ElringKlinger, Faurecia, FFT, Ford, GM, Grundfos, Hella, Hyundai, IWM, Kirchhoff, Lear, Magna, Mercedes, Nissan, Opel, Preh, SEAT, Sitech, Skoda, Toyota, Trumpf, ZF TRW, Tyco, USK, Van-Rob
4D Ingenieurgesellschaft für Technische Dienstleistungen mbH was founded in 1995 by Dr. Jens Mommsen and Dr. Martin Stürmer. The company is based in Isernhagen near the Hannover-Langenhagen airport. 4D provides a strong partnership in the fields of laser technology and laser material processing thanks to its years of experience. 4D develops, manufactures and distributes systems for the observation and monitoring of laser processes for the quality assurance.
The 4D strategy is consistently focussed on customer-oriented solutions. This is based on constant contact between the user and the developer, as well as the timely and expert handling of projects and commissions.
The basis of sustainable quality management and effective quality assurance for 4D is the ISO 9001. Customers, suppliers and partners alike acknowledge a quality management based on ISO 9001 as accredited evidence of capability and competence for a company. Furthermore, it represents a valuable tool for documentation of quality assurance and continuous improvement.
4D Ingenieurgesellschaft für Technische Dienstleistungen GmbH, based in Isernhagen near Hanover, develops, manufactures and distributes systems for the observation and monitoring of laser processes for quality assurance. The main area of application of these QA-systems is laser welding in vehicle manufacture, automotive products and the electronics industry. Our customers include well-known firms in Europe, America and Asia. With its focus on laser technology 4D works in an industry of the future.
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What we offer
We are a motivated team in an area of business focussed on the future with an international field of activity. Our collaboration is characterized by a flat hierarchy and collegial interaction. You can look forward to technical challenges and a creative working environment with us, in which the individual responsibility of our staff is highly valued.
If you have any questions, we look forward to hearing from you by email: bewerbung(a)4d-gmbh.de
Person responsible for maintaining this site:
4D Ingenieurgesellschaft für Technische Dienstleistungen mbH
Im Torfstich 5
Tel.: +49 (0)511 23 59 47- 0
Fax: +49 (0)511 23 59 47-11
Dipl.-Ing. Hans Jörg Ohler
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Head Office: 30916 Isernhagen HB
District Court Hanover HRB 120592
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Design and Realization
Freitag! Werbeagentur und Verlag GmbH, Wuppertal
Name and contact details of the controller and the company data protection officer:
4D Ingenieurgesellschaft für Technische Dienstleistungen mbH
Im Torfstich 5
Tel.: +49 511 23 59 47- 0
Fax: +49 511 23 59 47-11
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By accessing our website, the browser used on your device automatically sends information to our website’s server. This information is saved temporarily in a log file. The following information is collected without your involvement and saved until its automatic deletion:
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• Date and time of access,
• Name and URL of the accessed file,
• Website from which the access takes place (referrer URL),
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We process the stated data for the following purposes:
• Guaranteeing smooth connection establishment on the website,
• Guaranteeing convenient use of our website,
• Evaluating system security and stability, and
• For other administrative purposes.
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Sharing of data
Your personal data is not shared with third parties for purposes other than those listed below. We only pass on your personal data to third parties if:
- You have granted your consent to this in accordance with Art. 6(1)(a) GDPR,
- The sharing in accordance with Art. 6(1)(f) GDPR is required to establish, exercise or defend legal claims and there is no reason to assume that you have an overriding interest that requires protection with regard to the non-transfer of your data,
- In the event that a legal obligation exists for the sharing in accordance with Art. 6(1)(c) GDPR, and
- This is legally permitted and required for the performance of a contract with you in accordance with Art. 6(1)(b) GDPR.
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For the purpose of the needs-based design and ongoing optimisation of our website, we use Google Analytics, a web analysis service from Google Inc.
(https://www.google.de/intl/en/about/) (1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA; hereinafter ‘Google’). In this connection, pseudonymous usage profiles are created and cookies (see point ‘Cookies’) used. The information that is created by the cookie regarding your use of this website such as
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This information is used to evaluate the use of the website, to compile reports on website activities and to perform other services associated with the use of the website and the Internet for the purposes of market research and the needs-based design of these websites. This information may also be made accessible to third parties, where this is legally required, or where third parties are commissioned to process this data on Google’s behalf. Under no circumstances is your IP address combined with other Google data. The IP addresses are anonymised so that it is not possible to allocate them (IP masking). You can prevent the installation of cookies by setting your browser software accordingly. However, we would like to point out that it may not be possible to use all of the functions of this website in this case. You can also prevent the collection of data generated by the cookie and related to your use of the website (including your IP address), as well as the processing of this data by Google, by downloading and installing a browser add-on (https://tools.google.com/dlpage/gaoptout). Alternatively to the browser add-on, particularly for browsers on mobile devices, you can also prevent collection by Google Analytics by clicking on this link. An opt-out cookie will be saved that prevents the future collection of your data when visiting this website. The opt-out cookie only applies to this browser and our website and is saved on your device. If you delete the cookies in this browser, you need to save the opt-out cookie again. You can find more information on data protection in connection with Google Analytics in the Google Analytics help (https://support.google.com/analytics/answer/ 6004245?hl=de).
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Rights of the data subject
You have the right:
- in accordance with Art. 15 GDPR, to information about your personal data that we process. In particular, you can request information about the purposes of processing, the categories of personal data concerned, the categories of recipient to whom your personal data has been or will be disclosed, the envisaged period for which the personal data will be stored, the existence of the right to request rectification or erasure of personal data or restriction of processing of personal data or to object to such processing, the right to lodge a complaint, information on the source of the data where it has not been collected by us, and the existence of automated decision-making, including profiling, and any meaningful information about the logic involved;
- in accordance with Art. 16 GDPR, to obtain without undue delay the rectification of your inaccurate or incomplete personal data saved by us;
- in accordance with Art. 17 GDPR, to obtain the erasure of your personal data saved by us without undue delay where the processing is not required to exercise the right of freedom of expression and information, to comply with a legal obligation, for reasons of public interest or to establish, exercise or defend legal claims;
- in accordance with Art. 18 GDPR, to obtain restriction of processing of your personal data where the accuracy of the personal data is contested by you, the processing is unlawful but you oppose the erasure of the personal data, and we no longer need the personal data but you require it for the establishment, exercise or defence of legal claims, or you have objected to the processing in accordance with Art. 21 GDPR;
- in accordance with Art. 20 GDPR, to receive the personal data concerning you, which you have provided to us, in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format and to transmit this data to another controller;
- in accordance with Art. 7(3) GDPR, to withdraw the consent you have granted at any time. This will result in us no longer being able to continue data processing in the future based on this consent and
- in accordance with Art. 77 GDPR, to lodge a complaint with a supervisory authority. In general, you can do this by contacting the supervisory authority in your habitual residence, place of work or at our company headquarters.
Right to object
If your personal data is processed on the basis of legitimate interests in accordance with Art. 6(1)(f) GDPR, you have the right in accordance with Art. 21 GDPR to object to the processing of your personal data on grounds relating to your particular situation or where the objection is against direct marketing. In the latter case, you have a general right to object, which is implemented by us without stating a particular situation. If you would like to exercise your right to withdraw or object, it is sufficient to send an e-mail to: info(a)4d-gmbh.de
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Validity and changes to this data protection statement
This data protection statement is currently valid and dates from May 2018. It may be necessary to amend this data protection statement due to the further development of our website and services by means of or based on amended statutory or official requirements. You can access and print the latest data protection statement at any time at: www.4d-gmbh.de