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Overview of Laser Deposition Technology


Overview of Laser Deposition Technology

Laser Deposition
Technology featured
on Enterprises TV Show with Terry Bradshaw

IMTS TV interview
with Rob Mudge and other panelists at the International Manufacturing Technology Show

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The video gives an overview of Laser Deposition Technology and its main components: 1) Laser Repair Technology, 2) Laser Freeform Manufacturing Technology, and 3) Laser Cladding Technology.

Laser Deposition Technology (LDT) is a blanket name that encompasses many "like" processes—direct metal deposition (DMD), laser additive manufacturing (LAM), laser metal deposition, and others—that use a focused laser beam as the heat source for depositing powdered metals.

Transcript of Laser Deposition Technology Video

Laser Deposition Technology (LDT)

LDT, which stands for Laser Deposition Technology, is an additive process that is used to build freeform fabrications, repair metal components typically considered non-repairable by conventional techniques, or strategically add features to forgings or castings. All of these capabilities come directly from CAD data. No hard tooling changes are required.

LDT deposits exhibit excellent material properties. These material properties, combined with the flexibility of the process, significantly lower overall production costs. When used for manufacturing and the production of prototypes, the LDT process greatly reduces product development time.

First, a 3D CAD file is created that defines the component that is to be built. Next, the system software uses this file to slice the piece into numerous horizontal sections and then creates a tool path for each layer. This tool path is followed by the laser as the piece is created, layer by layer. The build takes place in a controlled environment chamber with less than 10 parts-per-million oxygen. Once the chamber is prepared, the build can begin.

The laser fires and creates a melt pool on the surface of the target plate. A stream of powered metal is delivered into the melt pool. When the powdered metal impacts the melt pool, it is absorbed into the melt pool and creates a weld bead. Fusing multiple layers together generates a 3D solid metallic build. A variety of alloys can be used in this process including tool steels, stainless steels, nickel, cobalt and titanium alloys. Deposit quality and consistency is of primary importance for all laser deposits. Weld beads are produced in a very low oxygen environment with a very small laser spot size and relatively high travel speeds. The laser deposits have extremely high cooling rates. These cooling rates generate a very small localized heat effect zone thus minimizing distortion. Also the high cooling rates result in laser deposits that have a very fine microstructure. Therefore, the deposits typically have similar mechanical and physical properties compared to wrought products.

Laser Freeform Manufacturing Technology (LFMT)

LFMT, which stands for Laser Freeform Manufacturing Technology, possesses a unique ability to build parts with novel geometries from high quality metal alloys and may transition to functionally gradient material compositions opening the door for the production of breakthrough end products. Complex forgings and castings may be simplified and reduced in size followed by the creative addition of specific features using the process. Substantial material and cost savings may be achieved using this novel combination of processes. Additional cost savings may be realized by the reduction of final machining time. Implementing design changes and new iterations for freeform builds is far simpler using this process than many traditional processes. Modifications are made in the CAD model, new tool paths are generated, and a new version of the piece is deposited.

Laser Cladding Technology (LCT)

LCT, which stands for Laser Cladding Technology, is also a very effective process for performing repairs on heat sensitive materials, such as 4340 or PH grade stainless steels. After the wear area is identified and a tool path is generated, the repair is initiated. By carefully controlling laser power and travel speeds, the heat effect and dilution zones are minimized. The result is a very low stress input into the part which results in very low distortion.

Quality Control

After a build is completed, the component is scanned using a portable CMM and scanning laser. The scanned file is compared to the original file to be certain no significant distortions have occurred and that enough material has been deposited to ensure clean-up during final machining. Minor discrepancies are carefully noted so that future potential distortions can be compensated for and therefore avoided.

LDT Applications are Endless

With Laser Deposition Technology, potential applications are endless, and the advantages over traditional methods of creating small runs, prototypes and performing repairs are substantial. Lower per-piece production costs, lower up-front tooling costs, and greatly decreased development time, represent significant savings in time and money. Enhanced design flexibility leads to better products. Superior material properties provide longer product life and the process can create products and repairs that are impossible using current traditional methods.

For answers to your questions about specific applications, contact RPM Innovations, Inc.

About RPM Innovations

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Building real parts from CAD files. RPM’s two laser deposition labs can employ freeform laser manufacturing which can drastically reduce Research and Development time and expense.