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Laser Cladding

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Laser Cladding

Postby Prasanth » Thu Oct 24, 2013 6:56 am

Laser cladding by powder injection has received significant attention in recent years due to its unique features and capabilities in various industries involved in metallic coating, high-value components repair, prototyping, and low-volume manufacturing. This emerging laser material processing technique is an interdisciplinary technology utilizing laser technology, computer-aided design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM), robotics, sensors and control, and powder metallurgy and rapid solidification. Further development of this technique depends on enhancement of the technologies involved and understanding the interconnections among these technologies and the process quality.

Cold and hot shaping industry is nowadays subject to new challenges in the tool manufacturing and repair field as consequence of the requirements generated by the introduction of new forming materials (mainly in the automotive sector, like the High Strength Steels - HSS) to guaranty the most increasing safety exigencies under driving
conditions. Unfortunately, HSS are extremely aggressive for tools and dies and force the die sector to use new working tool materials for cutting, deep-drawing and bending dies.

DIE REPAIR BASICS

High Pressure Die Casting dies are subjected to high temperature & pressure, and hence, are prone to regular wear and tear. Heat (thermal) cracks, soldering of cast material, breakage of sharp edges, deformation of corners etc. are some of the defects that commonly occur in dies. These defects, besides reducing the life of the die, also adversely affect the quality of the cast component.

Hence, to extract optimum life of the die and to ensure quality of the cast products, it is essential that the die should be promptly and effectively repaired for any defect or damage observed. Repairing of dies require metal filling in heat cracks, repairing of damaged portions, correction of profile, engraving etc. Before invention of laser cladding technology, repairing was done by conventional technologies. These technologies have certain inherent limitations. While filling metal by conventional method, heat is generated to the extent of approx. 300 ° C, in the heat affected zone (area around weld joint), which is about 25 mm all around welded joint. This results in change in microstructure at that particular area, thereby effecting life of the tool (die). In laser cladding, heat generation in heat affected zone is very low (approx. 50 ° C) and the heat affected area is also very small - about 1 mm all around the welded area, which does not effect the properties of the base material.
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