Thu, 26 March, 2020
Following the acquisition of the UK’s first EHLA system, TWI are funding a core research project investigating the capabilities and future potential of EHLA technology.
Led by Charlotte Blake and Josh Barras of TWI’s Laser Additive Manufacturing team, this research project will investigate the processing and material property outcomes of EHLA deposition.
The EHLA process is related to Laser Cladding or Laser Metal Deposition (LMD). It is a high-speed format, allowing surfaces to be covered greater than ten times faster than is currently possible using conventional LMD systems. At the same time, bonds formed between the substrate material and the coating are stronger than those in other high-speed technologies, such as spraying, meaning that coatings are stronger and longer lasting.
EHLA coatings are therefore of interest to the automotive, aerospace, and oil and gas industries. This technology provides a longer-term solution to issues such as corrosion and wear protection, at a speed that enables mass manufacture. Future applications may also involve the development of complex material joining or hybrid coatings, where EHLA is capable of material pairings that cannot reliably be produced using current technologies.
Through this core research programme, investigations into the material properties and compositions formed with EHLA deposition will take place, with comparisons against conventional LMD processing. Initial investigations are underway concerning Inconel alloy coatings, which present a potential avenue for replacement of hexavalent chrome plating.
TWI is also looking to recruit a PhD student in the coming months to join the EHLA team and propel the research undertaken in the core research project forward. An advert for this will be disseminated via the NSIRC programme.
For more information on the EHLA process, please contact us or visit the Fraunhofer ILT Institute website.