Why are so many companies selecting laser cladding today?
Today laser cladding is an important cost savings tool as it significantly increases the lifetime of high performance components and at the same time reduces the use of rare and expensive metal materials.
How does laser cladding compare to other cladding technologies?
The increasing popularity of laser cladding compared to conventional technologies such as thermal spraying (HVOF, Plasma, Cold Spray etc) and arc overlay welding (PTA, TIG etc) is driven by characteristics such as:
- The high performance alloy is melted with minimal dilution of the lesser substrate material, thus preserving the qualities of the performance alloys.
- The melt metallurgical bond between the completely dense performance alloy and the substrate is extremely strong and free of defects.
- The heat input into the substrate is minimal thus not damaging important properties or causing heat related distortion.
What are commonly used high performance alloys?
The selection from high performance alloys used for laser cladding and laser hardfacing can be overwhelming. Laser Welding Solutions will work with you on finding the right fit of commercially available alloys for your wear application or will assist you in the development of a unique and proprietary solution.
Common alloys include:
- Nickel alloys such as INCONEL 625, INCONEL 718, C276, COLMONOY 6
- Cobalt alloys such as STELLITE 1, STELLITE 6, STELLITE 21
- Ceramic reinforced alloys such as our M-Series Tungsten Carbide alloys
- Diamond reinforced alloys such as our Diamondite-M alloys
When is laser hardening a better choice than induction hardening?
The laser offers minimal heat input and precise control with unique flexibility and low distortion, in a non-contact process where the air-gap, unlike induction, is not critical but line of sight access over considerable distance is possible.
Induction heating is not a “power limited process” like the laser, so treatment times are not so heavily linked to the size of the hardened zone. Tooling changeover times for induction are higher but both methods use piece by piece or “continuous processing” which integrates more effectively with flexible just-in-time manufacturing techniques.
The ability to treat substantial areas/numbers of components is the strength of induction and the ability to treat complex shapes with flexibility and finesse and minimal distortion is the laser’s forte.