Oerlikon Metco’s laser center team. From left: Patrick Spapens, Kemal Coskun, Dr Arkadi Zikin, Jörg Spatzier and Peter Öhninger.
Oerlikon Metco’s laser center team. From left: Patrick Spapens, Kemal Coskun, Dr Arkadi Zikin, Jörg Spatzier and Peter Öhninger.

Oerlikon Metco has opened a competence center for high-speed laser cladding applications at its facility in Wohlen, Switzerland.

According to the company, the center features a seven-axis gantry system that enables a variety of process options, equipped with a specially developed tilting turntable.

Laser cladding, which deposits material with a metallurgical bond to the substrate, makes it possible, to build 3D structures layer-by-layer directly on the surface of components and thus change their design. With the process, additive structures can be built on the free-form surface of existing components and thus even extremely large components for the aerospace industry can be built and/or repaired, Oerlikon said.

‘Laser cladding as a coating process is not new, but robust development in recent years combined with the fall in the price of lasers and laser cladding system components that this process has become economically interesting for suppliers from the industry,’ said Arkadi Zikin, head of the new laser center. ‘The system [is] capable of multiple processes, including additive manufacturing. This opens up completely new possibilities for large parts, such as those produced by suppliers in the automotive and aerospace industries.’

Processes available in the center include extreme high-speed laser application (EHLA) which has a  high coating deposition and application efficiency of 90%, resulting in thinner layers with low surface roughness and improved properties. According to Oerlikon, EHLA is an alternative to processes such as thermal spraying or hard chromium plating to produce, for example, wear and corrosion protective deposits on brake discs and hydraulic piston rods.

Another application of laser cladding is wire coating, in which the feedstock metal is consumed completely producing coatings with 100% deposition efficiency making it suitable for industries where processing with noxious powders is restricted, the company said. The center covers prototype production, large-scale series production and joint R&D projects.

This story uses material from Oerlikon Metco, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.