The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, based in the spa city of Aachen, Germany, has long been a pioneer in metal powder research – in particular, in spearheading a range of processes involving additive manufacturing (AM) using laser technologies.

Along with the chair for digital additive production DAP at RWTH Aachen University, the Institute recently developed a laser material deposition process for metal coating, which, it says, could represent a sea change in protecting parts against wear and corrosion.

High-speed process

The extreme high-speed laser material deposition (Extremes Hochgeschwindigkeits-Laserauftragschweißen, or EHLA) process involves melting the powder particles of the coating material directly in a laser beam, rather than in a melt pool on the surface of the component. As the melt pool now is fed by liquid drops of material rather than solid particles of powder, the coating process can be much faster, rising from the 0.5–2 m per minute with conventional laser material deposition to as much as 500 m per minute, the researchers say.

This article appeared in the March–April 2020 issue of Metal Powder Report. Log in to your free profile to access the article.

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