Laser cladding, also known as laser remanufacturing, or laser repair, is a new surface modification technology.
By adding cladding material to the substrate’s surface, and using a high-energy-density laser beam to melt with the thin layer on the surface of the substrate. The coating forms a cladding layer.
Laser cladding technology is an emerging technology that uses lasers and nano-materials to strengthen alloys in various parts. The treatment can significantly increase the hardness and wear resistance of the surface and extend the parts’ service life.
Whether you are familiar with the terms Laser cladding or not, this guide will share every information you need to know about it. Being on this page means you are halfway close to learning what Laser Cladding stands for and what is used for as well.
In case there are other things you are confused about as regards Laser cladding, then you are at the right place, be rest assured that you will not leave this page without finding the right answers to your questions.
What is Laser Cladding?
Image for laser cladding process
Laser cladding is a method for adding a layer to the surface of another, also known as laser metal repositioning. Laser covering involves feeding in a melting pool of a stream of metallic powder or wire. Laser cladding involves feeding a metal stream into a melting pool generated by a laser beam while scanning through the target surface and depositing the layer of the material selected.
Laser cladding technology enables precise, targeted deposition of materials onto the underlying substratum with limited thermal input.
What is the laser cladding process?
laser cladding process
Laser cladding may be carried out either with a wire or powder feedstock including hot or cold wire. The laser creates a molten bowl on the surface of the workpiece, which at the same time incorporates the wire or powder. In spite of the laser’s high power as a heat source, there are short exposure times, which allow for fast cooling and solidification.
If two or more powders can be mixed and the feed rate is regulated separately, it is a versatile process that can be used to manufacture objects or materials. In addition, laser cladding permits the microstructure of the material gradient due to the localized fusion and mixing in the melting pool, which makes it possible to customize covered materials for practical efficiency in a particular application.
Why choose Laser Cladding?
Traditional cladding methods, such as arc-based welding, often necessitate unnecessary heat input, which can have negative consequences for the component’s efficiency, such as distortion and decreased mechanical properties. The heat input of the laser beam, on the other hand, may be precisely calibrated, which is important for maintaining dimensional precision for close component tolerances.
It has negligible side effects on the component’s functional integrity, either by handling the affected region locally or by changing the surface properties for a certain part of the production chain.
N/A (chemical process)
10 – 40%
N/A (mechanical bonding)
No metallurgical bond
800 – 1000
Heat Affected Zone
Large and wide
Full of pores and less durable
Prone to chipping and delamination
Highly dense and Long life
0.020” – 0.040”
0.002” – 0.006”
How laser cladding differs from other lasers treatments?
Laser cladding is unique in some ways, as compared to conventional cladding and welding methods, laser cladding has a high-speed thermal cycle that allows for higher strength and finer microstructures, all of which aid in corrosion resistance.
According to the Handbook of Laser Welding Technologies, laser clad screws have a 60 percent longer working life than equivalent high-alloy nitrided screws.
What are the Laser Cladding Applications?
Image for one of the laser cladding applications
Repairing and refurbishment of high-value equipment such as tools, rotor blades, gas turbine and internal combustion engine parts, as well as other industrial components, is a significant application of laser cladding.
Surface cladding, repair welding, and generative engineering are the three industrial applications. The method is a dependable macro-materials processing method.
What is the difference between laser cladding and welding?
Laser cladding and welding are not the same, they are two different processes altogether, below are how they function.
Laser cladding: Laser reinforcement is performed on moving support by placing a thin coating of the desired metal. Stuff can be transmitted by: injection of powder, pre-positioned powder on substrates and wire feeding. For different materials with layer thickness from 0,05 to 2mm and width from 0,4 mm, powder injection can be applied.
Welding: Welding is an action that unites metal(s) with heat or pressure or both to the effect that the nature of the metal(s) connected is continued. Filler metal may or may not be used at a melting temperature of the same order as the parent metal(s) and the product of a weld may be the solder.
What are the advantages of laser cladding?
There are 3 major advantages of laser cladding you should know, there are as follows:
Metallurgical Link: The metallurgical bond achieved at low temperatures is the greatest advantage of laser cladding. Since laser cladding uses metallurgical bonding, the coatings have very little porosity, resulting in excellent long-term corrosion resistance.
Build Up in a Single Step: In comparison to other methods, laser cladding allows for a thicker build-up in a single pass. Overlapping passes combine to create a high-quality board. This, along with the low metal dilution, ensures that post-process machining is negligible.
Lower Temperature: Unlike other treatments, laser cladding achieves this metallurgical bond at a lower temperature. It has a limited heat influenced region, which refers to the part of the base metal that has changed properties as a result of high temperatures. A heat influenced region of 0.03” is common for laser cladding. If your component is vulnerable to heat distortion, this is advantageous.
What are the disadvantages of Laser Cladding?
Everything that has advantages also has disadvantages and Laser Cladding is not exceptional. The disadvantages of laser cladding can be classified into 3 different categories such as:
Process Limitations: The method of laser cladding is largely automated. Although this improves accuracy, it also reduces flexibility. The machine is not just inconvenient to transport, but it may also complicate the handling of larger components.
Material Limitations: Only a few materials are typically applied by laser cladding. Inconel, Hastelloy, and Stellite are nickel- and cobalt-based alloys. Stainless steels in the 300 and 400 range, as well as carbides like tungsten carbide. These are perfect for wear and corrosion resistance, but if you need other coating properties, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Issues with Coating Thickness: Thick build-up, like most benefits, has a disadvantage. When thin coatings are needed, laser cladding struggles because it lays down too much in one pass. Cracking can also be caused by a quick build pace.
What are the cladding materials?
Cladding may be constructed out of a variety of materials such as oak, metal, stone, vinyl, and composite materials such as bronze, wood, cement mixtures, recycled polystyrene, and wheat/rice straw fibres. Rainscreen cladding is a form of weather cladding that offers both protection from the elements and thermal insulation.
There is only one control element: the cladding will only help to protect water or air directly to control run-off and avoid entry into the building system. Cladding may also be used to keep sounds from getting in or out. The cladding style or material can pose a fire hazard.
What are the differences and similarities between laser cladding and laser alloying?
Both laser cladding and laser alloying use a high-energy intensity laser beam to create an alloy cladding coating on the substrate’s surface that is bonded to the substrate but has a slightly different structure and properties.
While the two processes are identical, they are radically different, with the following main differences:
(1) Since the cladding content is fully melted in the laser cladding process with an exceptionally thin matrix melting sheet, the cladding composition is minimally affected.
The aim of laser alloying is to add alloying elements to the surface of the base material in the molten composite layer so that a new alloy layer can be formed.
(2) Instead of using the liquid metal of the substrate’s surface layer as a solvent, laser cladding involves melting the otherwise configured alloy powder to make it the cladding layer’s subject alloy.
Around the same time, a thin film of melting forms on the matrix alloy, resulting in the forming of a metallurgical bond.
Laser cladding for the preparation of new products is a vital foundation for the repair and remanufacturing of broken components under harsh circumstances, as well as the direct production of metal parts, and has gotten a lot of interest from scientists and businesses all over the world.
Will laser cladding trigger cracking?
While laser cladding systems supported by inductors have reportedly greatly reduced the cracking problem in laser clad coatings, crack is still the largest challenge in materials engineering, especially for hard alloys such as Ni-Cr-B-Si-C , for a larger use of laser cladding.
What are the problems facing Laser Cladding Technology?
The accuracy of the laser cladding layer is primarily assessed from two perspectives. The shape of the cladding path, surface irregularities, cracks, pores, and dilution ratios were examined macroscopically first. Second, it was investigated whether a good structure could be formed and whether the necessary value could be achieved at the microscopic level.
In addition, the chemical elements of the surface cladding layer’s form and distribution should be calculated. It is critical to determine if the transition layer is in metallurgical bonding condition and, if appropriate, to conduct quality life testing.
What is Laser Cladding Equipment?
Laser covering is a modern technology for surface alteration. The coating materials selected are positioned on the surface and irradiate with the powerful laser strain to form a metallurgical connection with the matrix material through different filling methods (synchronous powder feeding or pre-set powdering). Enhance resistance to heat, rust, wear, oxidation, and other characteristics of the base material surface.
What are Ultra-High-Speed Laser Cladding Machines, and what do they do?
Ultra-High-Speed Laser Cladding Machines
Laser cladding devices have advanced quickly in recent years, and they are now commonly used in the aerospace, petroleum, shipbuilding, manufacturing equipment, and nuclear power industries. Laser cladding technology, as the central technology of laser cladding equipment, has evolved into one of the most significant supporting technologies of the national green metal additive manufacturing technology.
The laser beams, powder beams, and inert gas flow are precisely combined using ultra-high-speed laser cladding equipment, which employs semiconductor fiber output lasers or fiber lasers to produce high-energy laser beams. The laser beams, powder beams, and inert gas flow are precisely combined using precision-designed high-speed laser cladding heads and high-speed or moving speed motion mechanisms.
How Are Laser Cladding Materials Chosen?
Various methods and procedures have been done to experiment and to test to determine what the best cladding material is for a particular project.
An image of a laser cladding powder (an example)
But, the best, the most sensible, and the most effective way based on years of practice is to perform a thorough and a complete analysis of the substrate (workpiece), the environment, as well as the application that it will serve.
What this tries to determine would be the wear, corrosion, as well as other properties of the substrate that needs enhancement and pure development.
What’s the Difference Between Laser Cladding and Thermal Spraying?
In case you weren’t aware, laser cladding and thermal spraying are two (2) methods that are often interchanged.
How the thermal spraying process works
This is because of the fact that they produce similar-looking results compared to other methods.
But how is the laser cladding method different from thermal spraying? Let’s take a closer and a deeper look at each of them.
Laser cladding is a process of hardfacing that utilizes laser to melt powder materials to a surface, oftentimes, hard steel, metal, or alloy surfaces, resulting to a metallurgical bond between the welded powder and the workpiece material.
The great thing about laser cladding is it doesn’t need tremendously high levels of energy– as opposed to TIG welding that needs about 6,100 degrees Celsius. It usually just needs somewhere around 530 to 560 degrees Celsius.
Thermal spraying, on the other end of the rope, is not just a singular process. It can be conceived by performing various procedures and methodologies.
But, among the most common would be the use of electricity or gas, creating flame that would melt the powder or the wire that’ll be applied to the workpiece or the material being hardfaced.
Unlike laser cladding, thermal spraying isn’t just limited to producing metallurgical bonds. In fact, most of the processes use mechanical bonding for it.
When to Use Laser Cladding?
Laser cladding being done to a specific workpiece or substrate
You’ll want to use laser cladding instead of thermal spraying in a variety of instances, some of which include:
If you want a solid metallurgical bond
If temperature is an issue
When you’re looking for a single pass or a one-step process
The procedure is usually fast, simple, and easy – but it’s something you need to refrain from doing if the environment you’re on has issues with high and fluctuating temperature.
When to Use Thermal Spraying?
An image of how full-blown thermal spraying looks like
You would want to perform thermal spraying on your substrate or your materials, on the other hand, if:
You’re looking for thin but durable coatings
Accuracy and precision of the thickness is required
You want to achieve more than just metallurgical bonding – mechanical bonding, too
These are just some of the most notable differences between the two.
Although some might find it subtle, it’s already enough to determine how different laser cladding is from thermal spraying.
How Does Laser Cladding and Laser Welding Differ?
They both require the use of lasers, so, how are they different?
A perfect image of how laser welding is done and completed
If you initially thought that laser welding will be as close as how laser cladding is from thermal spraying, think again.
To heighten your awareness of which is which, let’s try to discuss what laser welding is in accordance to how you understand laser cladding.
Laser Welding simply is the process of melting two (2) or more different materials together using a laser. It’s basically welding but instead of using traditional welding components, you’ll use laser.
The primary purpose of laser welding is to join 2 or more pieces of metal or substrates together – even materials that are dissimilar.
Part of the most common and the most customary applications you can have for laser welding include:
Medical Devices and Medical Equipment
Consumer Electronics Parts and Components
Automotive and Aerospace Parts
Packaging For Small and Consumer Products
And Many More
Laser Cladding involves the melting of filler material, usually in the form of wire or powder, onto the surface of the workpiece or the substrate.
The goal of laser cladding is not to join or fuse materials together, but to deposit the material onto the surface of the workpiece or the substrate. It can be for various reasons and goals, but the most common would be for protection against corrosion, wear, as well as to add another layer of material for further protection.
So that’s how easy it is to differentiate laser cladding from laser welding. As you might have seen, the procedures aren’t that far from one another but their goals are completely different.
Is a Laser Cladding Head Important?
A laser cladding head is a type of component in a laser welder machine that carries the laser that will perform the melting of the materials.
An image of what a laser cladding head looks like
It’s part of the main or the primary components of a laser welding machine because without it, the welding would not be able to take place.
Imagine a laser welding machine with just the base at its bottom part. How will it perform the welding procedure if it does not have the part or the component that would provide the welding procedure?
So, to answer that question, yes, a laser cladding head is, in fact, one of the most important things in a laser cladding or a laser welding machine.
What is Dilution in Laser Cladding?
By definition, dilution is referred to the overall amount of the intermixing of clad, as well as other substrate materials.
Image of a low dilution instance since the base metal is less than the coating
To give it to you in a simpler and an easier manner, let’s take a look at this particular example.
If the procedure you’re doing has little amounts of the base metal compared to the coating, it means low dilution. On the other hand, if the amount or the volume of the coating is much less than the coating, it means higher dilution.
What’s the Usual Heat Affected Zone For Laser Cladding?
Ideally speaking, the median or the average heat affected zone for laser cladding is about 0.5 to 0.75 mm.
An image of what a heat affected zone looks like
This is subject to the requirements of your projects, though as it can go as high as 1 to 1.25 mm.
But, that’s the general or the average radius of the heat affected zone in a laser cladding procedure.
Can You Use Laser Cladding in Aerospace Materials?
Of course, you can! As a matter of fact, laser cladding is the best-known alternative to TIG or Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), and GTAW is the traditional procedure for welding parts and components that are in the aerospace and defense (AS&D) industry.
Therefore, the laser cladding procedure is also something that you can bank and rely on if you’re meddling with workpieces and substrates in the aerospace sector or industry.
Is it Possible to Perform Laser Cladding on Cast Iron?
An image of gray cast iron
While many people argue that it’s something not possible, laser cladding has proven its efficiency and its effectiveness of being able to work on a vast array of materials.
Some explain that they were able to find success in performing laser cladding on cast iron, while some say that they failed and never attempted to try again.
As per researches, though, little information has been seen revolving around the ability to perform laser cladding on cast iron, as well as substrates that are similar in terms of composition, durability, and overall engineering.
Backed by research, cast iron substrates have been proven to be one of the most difficult materials for whatever welding processes there is.
Are Laser Cladded Workpieces Machinable?
Yes, absolutely! In fact, many businesses still perform too few finishes and treatments to the cladded part to enhance its physicality or overall visualization.
You’ll still be able to perform milling, lathing, or any other type of precision finishes to laser cladded workpieces and substrates.
Can You Use Laser Cladding to Restore Parts and Components?
If we were to look at the primary functions of laser cladding, it is to deposit layers of materials in the form of wires and powders, right? And its ultimate goal is to be able to preserve or improve the longevity of a certain component, right?
Therefore, we can come to the conclusion that laser cladding is a procedure that you can absolutely use to restore parts and components, whatever business industry they might be in – so long as they’re using metallic or steel substrates.
Laser Cladding vs. Laser Metal Deposition
When you encounter both or any of these terms, don’t be confused.
By definition, laser cladding is the procedure of depositing filler materials or clad materials to substrates and workpieces with the goal of creating a metallurgical bond between the two (2).
Laser metal deposition is just a general term for it, while laser cladding is much more of a jargon.
Both terms are the same, in essence; it’s just that laser cladding is used more in the industry because laser metal deposition could mean hardfacing or pure welding.
What Are Common Laser Cladding Defects?
Just like in any other type of laser procedures, you’ll find quite a lot of defects and errors in welding procedures.
But, to give you the most common and the most popular ones, they include, but are not limited to:
Oftentimes, the plates or the surfaces being contaminated cause porosity. It can also be due to the fact that it’s not properly cleaned thoroughly before the cladding process.
Furthermore, porosity can also occur if the laser keyhole is not stable that it collapses while being penetrated in high power.
Also commonly referred to as hot cracking, is the defect that involves the formation of cracks while a particular weld is being solidified.
The common culprit in solidification cracking is when the shape of the weld is not properly controlled during the laser welding procedure.
Is Laser Cladding Effective For Railway Repair?
Yes, in fact, the railroad industry is one of the industries that are reliant to laser cladding for fast, accurate, and high-quality clads and welds.
Railway repair through laser welding and laser cladding
Especially since the railways are considered to be the norm by the society, laser cladding was able to give the guarantee of accuracy and precision done in a fast, urgent, and a swift manner.
Several other business sectors and industries that are in the likes of the railroad industry heed the importance of laser cladding technology in their arsenal, too, this include:
Shipyard and Shipbuilding Industry
Military and Defense Industry
Marine and Maritime Industry
Tanks and Vessels Industry
And Many More!
Are there all the defects? Of course not, these two (2) are just considered to be the most common defects and errors that occur in a laser cladding procedure.
Can Thickness of the Clad Be Controlled?
Not many experts believe this, but yes, you will be able to have control over the metal or the filler that’s applied to the workpiece or the substrate.
In fact, several laser cladding machines and equipment have their controls so that it’s easier for the workers and for the employees to be accurate and precise over the thickness of the cladded metal or material.
Types of Laser Cladding Equipment
There are quite a few different types of laser cladding machines and equipment available in the market, and there’s not a single way to categorize or to group them together.
But, the best and the most ideal way would be by differentiating them based on the type of laser they produce.
In this way, we’ll be able to identify four (4) different types of laser cladding equipment, they are:
Diode Laser Cladding Machines
YAG Laser Cladding Machines
CO2 Laser Cladding Machines
Fiber Laser Cladding Machines
What are the advantages of ultra-high-speed laser cladding machines?
These types of laser cladding machines has some advantages over other similar machines with low capacity. Below are the advantages of ultra-high-speed laser cladding machines:
High-efficiency cladding: Because of its high consumption rate of laser energy, combined with a very high cladding line speed and a thinner cladding layer, the ultra-high-speed laser cladding device can achieve very high cladding performance. Around the same time, the laser cladding system has a double barrel powder feeder, which allows for simultaneous laser processing and powder feeding, meeting the needs of three-dimensional laser cladding and laser rapid prototyping.
High precision and stability: The powder feeder in ultra-high-speed cladding equipment usually utilizes servo motors rather than stepping motors, mass flow meters rather than float flow meters, and CNC handling powder disks, resulting in a complete closed loop for the turntable’s rotating speed and gas flow. As a result, the ultra-high-speed cladding machine’s conveying accuracy and stability are much superior to those of other semilar devices.
High conversion rate of laser energy: A self-developed high-power fiber laser with a high-speed laser cladding head and a high-speed laser cladding nozzle is used in the ultra-high-speed laser cladding machine. It has a higher photoelectric conversion efficiency, lower power consumption, and improved beam strength than conventional laser cladding equipment. The ultra-high-speed laser cladding machine’s high beam efficiency is ideal for cladding under the high-speed motion module, resulting in a coating of small grains, no defects, and no cracks.
What Is The Working Principle Of Laser Cladding Equipment?
Laser coating is based on a high intensity laser beam to irradiate the surface of a plastic sheet with special electrical, chemical or mechanical characteristics to shape new composite materials, through accelerated melting, expansion and solidification. Lack of good efficiency such that all materials can be taken maximum advantage of and weaknesses can be solved.
A number of (design-based) metal or non-metal parts are coated to prepare a surface coating with heat resistance, resistance to rust, wear resistance, resistance to oxidation, fatigue or light resistance, electricity and magnetic properties according to working conditions. Laser cladding can deposit an alloy with a high melting point on a low melting point steel, and the non-phase material surface (AI, Cu, Ni, etc.) can be consolidated.
Where to source for high-quality laser cladding?
There are hundreds of Chinese suppliers and manufacturers of laser cladding but there is one name that stands outs and that is Waldun Steel.
Waldun Steel: We’re not only the best, most qualified, and professional, but we’re also the Laser Cladding manufacturer and supplier you can trust because all of our equipment and machinery has been put through rigorous testing.
Furthermore, our business is fitted with the latest technology and calibration systems, ensuring that you get only the highest-quality laser cladding materials at the most reasonable and attractive prices.
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Your budget doesn’t matter at this point, we can help you with the real quotations according to your requirements.
Let’s talk, we are ready to do business with you as we guarantee you the best quality products and services. Use our hotlines or email to reach us right away.
The materials applied to laser cladding are relatively wide. It has been successfully developed in stainless steel, dies steel, malleable cast iron, gray cast iron, copper alloys, titanium alloys, aluminum alloys, and special surfaces. And has been used in a wide range of applications, such as the following: laser cladding of cobalt-based, nickel-based, iron-based, and other self-fusing alloy powders and ceramic phases.
Laser cladding of iron-based alloy powders is suitable for parts that require local abrasion resistance and are prone to deformation.
Nickel-based alloy powders are suitable for components requiring local wear resistance, heat resistance, corrosion resistance, and thermal fatigue resistance.
Cobalt-based alloy powder is suitable for parts requiring local wear resistance, heat resistance, corrosion resistance, and thermal fatigue resistance.
Ceramic coating has high strength, excellent thermal stability, and high chemical stability under high temperature, which is suitable for parts requiring wear resistance, corrosion resistance, and high temperature resistance. And oxidation resistance of the parts.
Laser cladding can be divided into two main categories according to the cladding material’s supply method, i.e., pre-set laser cladding and synchronous laser cladding.
Pre-set laser cladding is to place the cladding material on the substrate’s surface beforehand, and then use laser beam irradiation to scan and melt the cladding material. The content is added in the form of powder, wire, or sheet, with dust being the most common.
Simultaneous laser cladding is where the cladding material is fed directly into the laser beam so that both feeding and coating can be done simultaneously. The molten metal is also supplied primarily in the form of powder, but some also use wire or sheet for simultaneous feeding.
The primary process of pre-set laser cladding is pretreatment of substrate cladding surface — pre-set cladding material — preheating — pre-set cladding material — Laser melting – post heat treatment.
The primary process of synchronous laser cladding is the substrate cladding surface pretreatment — feeding laser melting— post-heat treatment.
Process Parameters Of Laser Cladding
The main parameters are laser power, spot diameter, cladding speed, defocusing amount, powder feed speed, scanning speed, and preheating temperature. These parameters have a significant influence on the dilution rate, cracking, the surface roughness of the cladding layer, and the density of the cladding parts. The settings also affect each other, which is a very complex process, and reasonable control methods must be adopted to control these parameters in the laser, within the range allowed by the cladding process.
The higher the laser power, the more the amount of molten cladding metal is melted, and the higher the probability of porosity. As the laser power increases, the depth of the cladding layer increases, the surrounding liquid metal fluctuates dramatically, and dynamic solidification crystallizes, causing the number of porosity to increase gradually. The cracking is gradually reduced or even eliminated. When the depth of the cladding layer reaches the ultimate bottom, the deformation and cracking intensify as the power increases, and the surface temperature of the substrate rises. The power is too small, only the surface coating melting, the substrate is not molten, this time the surface of the molten layer of local pilling, hollow, etc., can not reach the surface of the melting Purpose.
The cladding speed V has a similar effect to the laser power P. The cladding speed is too high, and the alloy powder cannot be completely melted. If the cladding speed is too high, the alloy powder does not vanish entirely and does not have the effect of high-quality cladding; if the cladding speed is too low, the existence time of the melting pool is too long. Excessive length, overburning of the powder, loss of alloying elements, and high heat input to the substrate will increase the deformation.
the laser beam is generally circular. The cladding layer’s width mainly depends on the spot diameter of the laser beam, which increases, and the cladding layer becomes wider. The spot size will cause changes in the energy distribution on the surface of the cladding, and the morphology and tissue properties of the cladding will vary considerably. Generally speaking, in the small size of the spot, the quality of the cladding layer is better, as the spot size increases, the quality of the cladding layer decreases. But the spot diameter is too small, which is not conducive to obtaining a large area of the cladding layer.
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