Laser metal deposition with powder and wire - innovative processing tools
As the catchphrase “3D printing” has found its way into business circles and the related press the innovative steps with respect to the use of a laser processing head and additive material to modify surface conditions, to do part repair or to completely build new 3D structures has fade from the spotlight. This contribution to the NoLamp 2017 will present some of the highlights in the area of laser metal deposition in combination with sensor strategies to fully monitor the manufacturing process.
It is far away from process boundary conditions to take the decision whether metal powder or wire is the best solution for a specific application. In the recent years the use of wire was not part of the discussion e.g. when talking about a multi-directional welding path or building 3D structures because of the missing tool. But of course, there also are some restrictions in the range of materials available as wire in comparison to the variety of metal powders. With respect to the system technology Precitec has developed a processing head for LMD where the wire is fed coaxially to the laser beam which itself is ring shaped and focused right at the interaction point between wire and workpiece surface.
The CoaxCladder processing head is a promising solution to increase the use of wire in LMD. The compact and easy to use device has shown excellent build up results with repeatable quality and homogenous inner structure of the melted wire. It is redundant to say that the manufacturing process using wire is without contamination of the surrounding areas or surfaces and thus a technology which could generate new applications for LMD. Especially for generating bigger parts the wire based process is faster, more reliable, 100% material use, in short words, much more economic.
As there are alloys which can only be processed in the powder state the decrease of powder loss and the increase of process robustness is still ongoing. This NoLamp 2017 contribution will show the activities run by Precitec in the recent past, from improved nozzle technology to sensor equipment to perform the required next step, being able to control specific process states.