Automotive components are for the most part cylindrical and thus the weld seams are of radial shape. Radial weld seams are usually produced by starting at a point on the component's surface rotating the component resulting in an overlap zone at the start/end of the weld. In this research, it is shown that the component's distortion strongly depends on the overlap of weld start and end. A correlation between overlap zone and distortion is verified by an experimental study. In order to reduce distortion generated by the overlap zone a special optics is used which allows shaping the laser beam into a ring shape which is then focused on the cylindrical surface and produces a radial ring weld seam simultaneously by one laser pulse. In doing this, the overlap zone is eliminated and distortion can be reduced. Radial weld seams are applied on precision samples and distortion is measured after welding. The distortion of the precision samples is measured by a tactile measuring method and a comparison of the results of welding with the ring optics to reference welds is done.© (2010) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.