Laser Cladding: Harnessing the power of laser beams to deliver revolutionary coating
Once the subject of science fiction, Laser cladding is an advanced coating technology process that is being used more and more by key industries around the world where integrity is critical.
How Does Laser Cladding Work?
Laser cladding uses 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. The heat generated at the surface is intense enough to melt metal reaching temperatures of 2500°C-3000°C in steel alloys. The heat is put only where it needs to be, and it is more efficiently used to cause melting rather than unnecessarily heating a larger volume of material. The coating material melts, completely or partially for some advanced material systems, and cools to create the clad bead.
Laser Cladding Applications
Industrial applications of laser cladding can be for dimensional repair, surface modification, or a combination of both. For sensitive high strength, high performance alloy steels, stainless steels, and nickel-based alloys that depend on their strength through heat treatment, laser cladding is the only feasible repair technology because of its potential to minimize detrimental effects of heat to surrounding areas.
Opening the Door to New Possibilities
Traditionally considered a surfacing technology, laser cladding opens the doors to industrial scale additive manufacturing possibilities. By depositing layer upon layer, features, or even entire components can be 3D printed in near net shape geometries. As a result, laser cladding fills the niche manufacturing space between table-top 3D printing machines for producing components in a one square foot build area and the large scale powder bed machines that are not limited by size but cost of equipment and operation.