Leading the Way in Laser Cladding

Employed more and more by key industries around the world where integrity is critical, laser cladding is a weld overlay process that uses a laser the way conventional welding uses an arc. Laser cladding leverages advanced high-power laser beams to melt metals and apply high performance material coatings where integrity of the deposited material and the base material are critical. To provide precision control during the cladding process, we use CNC and robotic laser systems. The accuracy and repeatability of these systems provide significant process control advantages over traditional, manual welding and hardfacing processes.

The Modern Solution for Modern Manufacturing

Laser cladding can be used for dimensional repair, surface modification, or a combination of both. As a result, it meets the challenges of surface coating, repair and rapid design changes of components and tools used in modern manufacturing technology. This proven process is used for applications in mould and tool, aircraft and aerospace, as well as automotive industry, oil and gas, mining, construction and agriculture. Our capabilities, expertise, and state-of-the-art equipment allow us to produce tools with precision and efficiency. With multiple systems for inner-diameter cladding and laser heat treatment, we also have the capacity to fill the demand for high-quality inner-diameter overlays and hardening through ID laser heat treatment. We can clad or heat-treat inner diameters as small as 1.05″ and 28″ deep or up to 37″ deep for diameters of 4″ or larger.

The Unique Benefits of Laser Cladding

  • Creates a Metallurgical Bond – Laser Cladding creates a metallurgical bond between the base material and the overlay that will not flake away.
  • Very Low Total Heat Input – Automated laser systems precisely control heat input for your part, allowing for minimal dilution of the overlay with the base material and results in a very small heat affected zone (HAZ), typically 0.040” (1 mm).
  • Little to No Distortion – With laser cladding, relatively thin walled components can be clad with minimal to no measurable distortion. Components that cannot be weld repaired using conventional methods due to the risks of distortion can be laser clad and maintain their dimensions, allowing you to repair only the area damaged.
  • Exceptional Parameter Control – Our CNC and robotic control of the laser process allows us to place material only where you need it. Automated processing provides world-class process control to assure the quality of your components.

ID Laser Cladding

With multiple systems for inner-diameter (ID) cladding and laser heat treatment, Apollo has the capacity to fill the demand for high-quality inner-diameter overlays and hardening treatments. ID laser treatments are routinely applied to bearings and other components subjected to surface-on-surface wear or slurry erosion to dramatically improve service lifetime and performance. Typical bearing ID hardfacing is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: ID cladding nickel-tungsten carbide hardfacing onto a steel bearing from different perspectives.

What truly sets Apollo apart is the capability to clad bores down to a 1.05″ (26 mm) diameter and a length of 28″ (71 cm). Laser cladding at these small diameters requires the equipment, precision, and experience unique to Apollo-Clad.

Figure 2: Demonstration of Apollo’s ID cladding capabilities down to a 1.05″ (26 mm) bore.

For diameters of 4″ to 18″ is capable of cladding to a bore length of 37″. For large scale components beyond these dimensions, Apollo is equipped with a robotic laser assembly to apply coatings to large internal surface areas and make repairs to critical, high value components. Figure 3 shows the robotic laser system repairing the ID bearing surface of heavy equipment components used in the Oil and Gas/Mining industries in Alberta.

Figure 3 (Left): Robotic laser assembly with ID head attachment preparing to clad a heavy equipment component. (Right) A typical robotic laser ID clad repair to a heavy equipment component in progress.

The laser cladding process is highly automated largely because the interaction between the laser, the part to be clad, and the coating material happens faster than a human’s reaction time. Apollo has invested in developing a scientific understanding of laser processes, and part of that knowledge is in the form of high speed videography of ID laser cladding. The video below represents a slowed down view of the process recorded at 4000 frames per second using high speed imaging technology from the Canadian Centre for Welding and Joining at the University of Alberta. The video is played back at 10 frames per second representing a real time slow down of approximately 400 times.