FAQs - LaserBond Cladding

What is LaserBond® laser cladding?

LaserBond® cladding is an advanced laser additive manufacturing process utilising the precisely controlled energy from a high power laser to metallurgically bond a surfacing material to a substrate. With this precise control, a welded or metallurgical bond is achieved with the undesirable effects of heat on the substrate and the surface material minimised or eliminated.

The metallurgical bond created by the LaserBond® laser cladding process results in an extremely high bond strength between coating and substrate – a result of the rapid coating solidification which produces extremely fine and wear resistant microstructures.

Additional benefits of a metallurgical bond include:

A dense, hard and smooth surface finish for high coating quality;

  • The opportunity for unlimited coating thickness for future rebuilding, repair or rapid prototyping;
  • Precise control of coating thickness and smooth surface for least post-weld machining;
  • High process stability, reliable and consistent results ideal for automated processes.

Why are coatings used?

LaserBond can apply hundreds of different coatings using a range of thermal spray and laser cladding techniques.  Surface engineered coating technologies offer the following;

  • A base substrate material is designed for a particular set of attributes (strength, stiffness, weight, cost, corrosion resistance, thermal capability), while the surface has a different set of properties (hardness, electrical resistance or conductivity, mating characteristics, thermal transfer or shielding).
  • A duplex set of properties unattainable by other techniques.
  • Significant cost savings when compared with solid materials of like composition.
  • Coating materials can be specifically tailored to application requirements quite readily and usually at low cost.

What is the difference between a mechanical bond and a metallurgical bond?

A mechanical bond involves the keying or interlocking of the coating material to the substrate. It is the bond formed by most thermal spraying methods.

High mechanical bond strengths can be achieved when using state of the art thermal spray techniques and equipment, such as High Pressure High Velocity Oxygen Fuel (HP HVOF) however, from our experience, such techniques are generally not suited for applications involving high impact loads.

A metallurgical bond is provided by the LaserBond® laser cladding process.

It is a result of the diffusion between the cladding material and the substrate at the bond interface. The metallurgical bond allows LaserBond® applied layers to be used in high impact, heavily loaded and stressed situations with no risk of spalling or separation of the overlay.

What are the processing benefits of LaserBond® laser cladding?

The LaserBond® laser cladding process provides a wide range of processing benefits compared with conventional arc and plasma transferred arc (PTA) welding:

  • Processing time is short;
  • The heat input is localised;
  • Lowest dilution of coating materials (< 5%) for maximum purity and performance of the coating;
  • Distortion and heat-affected zones (HAZ) are much smaller than any other welding processes;
  • LaserBond can clad smaller and thinner pieces than conventional welding.

What can LaserBond® laser cladding be used for?

LaserBond® laser cladding is used to provide very high performance surfaces to new parts to extend operating life. It is also used in the remanufacture of components and equipment and can also be used to reclaim worn components.

What is Laser Additive (3D) Manufacturing?

The precise application of laser cladding enables multi-layer profiles and 3D buildup. Laser cladding can eliminate complex manufacturing steps and streamline efficiency by treating limited areas of parts requiring surface engineered characterisitics. 

  • Flexibility with material properties to match or modify that of substrate
  • Eliminate some design constraints in complex geometry forgings/castings
  • Avoid need for bolt-on parts to provide profile or material characteristics
  • Provide multiple geometries or material characteristics within same component
  • Enables unique part creation at typically less cost than normal material machining operations

What substrates can be LaserBond® laser clad?

Almost any metallic substrate - including steels, cast irons, copper alloys, stainless steels, nickel alloys and cobalt alloys - can be LaserBond® laser clad.

Materials that are considered to be "unweldable" such as high chrome irons, some cast irons and hardened steels, etc, can be LaserBond® laser clad.

Temperature sensitive components and materials, such as hardened shafts, gears, etc, can be surface engineered with minimal risk of distortion, annealing or other undesirable heat effects.

What materials can be applied using the LaserBond® laser cladding process?

Standard LaserBond® laser cladding options include tungsten carbides, stainless steels, nickel alloys (such as Inconel), cobalt alloys (such as Stellite), and copper alloys (such as aluminum bronze).

Other materials can be applied on request.

What surface finish can be achieved using the LaserBond® laser cladding process?

Using semi-automated and manually-controlled equipment, along with precision ceramic and diamond abrasives, LaserBond can surface finish any coating or component materials to the highest specifications, including mirror finishes.

Typical applications processed include hydraulic rods and material processing rolls.

What are the component size parameters for LaserBond® laser cladding?

Our capabilities are continually expanding as is the range of materials we can clad.

Our current parameters are:

  • Weight - from a few grams up to 25t;
  • Diameter - from 5mm up to 2000mm;
  • Lengths - up to 6 metres.

Can internal diameters be laser clad?

Yes, down to 75mm internal diameter with some restrictions.

Smaller bores can be LaserBond® laser clad if they are relatively shallow.

Please contact us for further details.

What thickness of material can be applied using LaserBond® laser cladding?

Due to the extremely low dilution with the substrate, high specification materials can be applied in a thin layer with corrosion and wear resistant surfaces as thin as 0.3mm possible.

Thick overlays for significant repairs of up to 20mm can also be applied in multiple passes.

Is the LaserBond® laser cladding system portable?

Site work can be carried out using the LaserBond® laser cladding process. However, it can be a costly exercise to relocate and setup the equipment, so generally speaking only larger jobs or high value equipment will justify these costs.

For almost all jobs, we prefer to complete the job in our own workshops where we can maintain consistency of product and quality control.

How does LaserBond® laser cladding compare to traditional hard-facing?

LaserBond® applied wear resistant layers significantly outperform hard- facing applied by plasma transferred arc (PTA) and conventional welding.

The precise control over the amount and placement of the heat energy in the LaserBond® laser cladding process means that the heat affected zones (HAZ) are minimised, and the stress related cracking inherent in welded or PTA applied hard-facing is generally eliminated.

The increased concentrations of finer carbides applied by LaserBond® laser cladding result surfaces that are demonstrably more wear resistant.

What details are required to get a LaserBond® laser cladding quote for my application?

Provide as much information as possible to help us understand your needs, including:

  • Describe the part to be laser clad, and properties you need to address.
  • Describe the environment in which the part is used. For instance are there corrosion concerns? Is wear a problem, and if so, what causes the wear? Are there mechanical or electrical requirements, loads, impact, etc?
  • Provide drawings, if available.
  • Provide the type of substrate, if known.
  • We recommend speaking with a LaserBond representative on 1300 LASERBOND.