Laser cladding

Laser cladding with the aid of power-based or wire-shaped filler materials can be used for repair work, the application of wear and corrosion protection and the production of 3D components (additive manufacturing).

Laser cladding: the technology

A high-power laser is used as the heat source in laser cladding. During the process, a surface layer is created by way of melting and the simultaneous application of virtually any given material. The filler material can either be supplied in powder form e.g. as metal powder, or with a welding wire. When laser cladding is carried out using powder, the laser usually heats the workpiece with a defocussed laser beam and melts it locally. At the same time, an inert gas mixed with a fine metal powder is introduced. The metal powder melts at the heated area and is fused to the surface of the workpiece.

Wire-based laser deposition welding is a material-efficient 3D printing process for the production of metallic components.

Additive manufacturing with wire feed offers significant advantages in the production of geometrically complex and large components.

Laser cladding: the benefits to you

  • Don't replace it, repair it: Even minor damage or normal wear and tear on complex or expensive components tends to result in significant outlay - the affected parts often need to be completely replaced. For this reason, it is worth repairing the parts. Laser cladding is the ideal process for cases such as these.
  • Functionalized surfaces: A large pallet of materials can be used during the laser cladding process to optimize the surface for the required function, e.g. for wear and corrosion protection.
  • The generative manufacture of components or functional elements is used in the field of industrial manufacture on an increasingly regular basis. When it comes to large components such as turbine elements, fitting functional elements by way of laser powder cladding can lower production costs significantly.
  • Low level of heat application at the welding area: The levels of distortion remain within narrow tolerances and, in many applications, the weld structure of the applied material either meets or exceeds the requirements placed on the original parts.

Automated laser cladding

KUKA provides individual solutions and all types of production technology for laser cladding. This ranges from the modular robotic cell to the fully-automated system – also in conjunction with other joining technologies.

Laser material processing by way of laser powder cladding using the compact cell from KUKA
Research project ProLMD: Learn more about it in the KUKA blog article.
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