- Develop fundamental understanding of the EHLA process.
- Build expertise with the UK’s first EHLA system.
- Develop knowhow in thin-coating capability to state-of-the-art levels.
- Benchmark EHLA coatings against end-use quality and performance requirements, and conventional manufacturing methods.
The extreme high-speed laser application (EHLA) is capable of applying fully fused metallic coatings with a maximum coverage rate greater than 250cm2/min (i.e. more than ten times faster than conventional laser cladding). This is achieved by melting powder prior to reaching the substrate, thereby reducing the time/energy that would otherwise be needed to achieve melting of the substrate. EHLA is also capable of producing thinner coatings than conventional laser metal deposition (LMD) due to very little dilution between substrate and deposited material (10µm-300µm against more than 500µm). Low dilution also offers the potential for dissimilar materials coatings. EHLA is being developed as a direct replacement for chrome plating and thermal spray coating techniques.
EHLA-produced coatings will be characterised and tested. Detailed characterisation and analysis will ensure that process parameters are optimised in a systematic way, focusing on integrity and application requirements. In order to give a fair comparison between EHLA and conventional coatings, the quality of the coatings will be assessed through several iterations of development and study in both cases. Coated samples will be characterised by optical and SEM microscopy, and tested. As there is limited literature about EHLA material characteristics it is particularly important to build up knowledge in this area and make comparisons with conventional laser metal deposition and other competitive coating processes. We will compare characterisation and test results with literature on other coating processes.
The final demonstration phase of the project will include:
- Producing at least two different demonstrators to show application of components (on shafts up to 900mm long, or discs up to 450mm in diameter).
- Testing of demonstrator performance and integrity. This will depend on application but is expected to include both mechanical and environmental performance testing.
- Analyses of quality, performance, costs, wastage, and production rates.
Relevant Industry Sectors
Benefits to Industry
Industry will use the knowledge gained through fundamental development of the EHLA process, including metallurgical investigations, to inform decisions about coating materials and processes. Industry will have access state-of-the-art EHLA capabilities, for the first time in the UK. This will facilitate technology transfer, and accelerate qualification of coated parts.
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