Laser cladding fundamentals

Using a laser to deposit a rugged clad surface on wear-prone components can be relatively inexpensive and can yield highly effective results.

Cladding is the association of layers of metals of different natures by molecular interpenetration of the surfaces in contact. Limited diffusion of the surface material is a characteristic of clad products and differentiates them from products metalized in other manners, such as normal electroplating. Large scale cladding processes include pouring molten cladding metal onto a basic metal followed by rolling or simple hot-rolling of the cladding metal to ensure efficient welding to the basic metal. Smaller-scale cladding methods include superimposing the cladding material (nickel, chromium, etc.) by a thermal process to ensure welding. In these methods the cladding metal is applied to the basic metal by heat treatment at the appropriate temperature.

Cladding is a highly flexible technique for developing a tough corrosion and erosion resistant surface to metal surfaces. Laser cladding is simply a finely-tuned technology for heating the cladding and substrate materials to the proper temperature. It involves depositing a hard material, usually in the form of powder, onto a surface to enhance the wear and corrosion resistance of the substrate material. The process is actually fairly simple: A laser beam melts a very thin layer of the work piece, some cladding alloy is added to the melt pool, and this surface freezes to the work piece with a metallurgical bond. The resulting thin surface has all the desirable properties of a wear coating without significant changes to the substrate material. The result is a highly effective and economic hardened surface that can extend the life of the component.

Laser cladding offers one of the most cost effective ways of developing a wear- or corrosion-resistant surface layer to components in repair and life-extending maintenance. It is used to build up worn surfaces, repairing components, and to produce low volume parts.

BMR Group has more expertise and experience with laser materials processing than any other company in the industry. If you want to know anything about how this technology can help your operational up time and pad your bottom line, call one of our technical specialists at 260-635-2195 or email info@bmrgroup.net.


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