Thin disc lasers represent a new class of welding lasers in that they combine the beneficial characteristics of CO2- and Nd:YAG-lasers. Their good focusability--values of M2 around 20 are typical for devices in the multi kW power range--can be utilized in several ways to improve the welding performance: compared to lamp-pumped Nd:YAG-lasers, the laser power required at the threshold to the deep penetration regime can be reduced, the welding depth can be increased and far higher values of traverse speed are applicable at prescribed welding depths. Alternatively, the high beam quality allows the use of focusing optics with large focal lengths, hence enabling the realization of "remote welding" concepts. At the same time, a wavelength of 1.03 μm (Yb:YAG) provides, in comparison to CO2-lasers, a high absorptivity at metallic workpieces and a low sensitivity against plasma production; both effects contribute to the efficiency, stability and achievable quality of the welding process. Further, beam delivery via flexible glass fibers with core diameters of 100 μm to 150 μm is possible. With these features and an overall (plug) efficiency of more than 20 %, this laser offers a large potential for many applications.