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High-precision laser cladding with short process times

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Author: Sarah Gottschalk

High-precision laser cladding with short process times
Dr.-Ing. Tobias Stittgen (right) and Thomas Horr, the two Managing Directors of ponticon GmbH, are standing next to a pE3D system. (source: ponticon)

New technology accelerates material deposition and development of application-specific alloys for additive manufacturing

At Formnext, ponticon will introduce its new pE3D system for Dynamic Material Deposition (DMD), a process developed for additive manufacturing, coating and repairing complex-shaped metallic workpieces. The new system combines high process speed with utmost precision and high flexibility in terms of the choice of alloying elements.

With the Dynamic Material Deposition process developed by ponticon alloys of any elemental compositions can be deposited on metallic and ceramic components. In contrast to conventional laser deposition methods, in the DMD process the metallic powder is already molten when it reaches the surface of the substrate which it is deposited on in successive layers.

Ponticon will showcase a pE3D system of five-axis design. Its high-speed parallel kinematic system is equipped with an additional turning and tilting device to be able to deal with the most complex of geometries. In its standard design, the machine can handle component weights of up to 500 kg.

High-performance components manufactured at high speed

In additive manufacturing, the DMD process excels in terms of versatility of materials it can process and the outstandingly high feeding rates it achieves. The benefits for the user: time-saving, high-precision manufacturing of components for the most demanding of uses. By flexibly combining the various materials and alloying elements, the system ensures that the components produced or coated have exactly the properties required for their specific use.

Highly resistant coatings for surfaces of virtually any shape

The process can also be used to cover surfaces of metallic components with metallurgically bonded coatings. Apart from the great versatility of alloys and elements that can be used in these applications, the process provides the benefit that the coatings are extremely firmly bonded with the substrate material. Thus, they can fulfill the most exacting demands in terms of wear, corrosion and high-temperature resistance.

Back in shape for extreme use

When the system is used for pinpoint repairs of components damaged as a result of broken-off metal or worn metallic surfaces, the sensors initially capture the as-is component geometry. Based on these data, the CAM software plans the path for the repair process that requires the nozzle and the workpiece carrier to be precisely aligned to one another. Once in the aligned position, the system starts to apply the new material onto the workpiece. The material is specifically adjusted to the properties of the substrate material. As the heat transfer into the base material is minimal, the material properties of the repaired components are not affected during the process.

Ponticon will supply the system shown at the trade fair to the wbk Institute of Production Science at the Karlsruher Institute of Technology (KIT). One of the Institute’s focus is remanufacturing, i.e. reconditioning high-grade components subjected to extreme in-service stresses as, for example, in turbomachinery industry or renewable energy systems. The entire, fully automatic manufacturing cell consists of the five-axis pE3D system complete with comprehensive sensor equipment, a turning lathe and a handling robot.

According to Dr.-Ing. Tobias Stittgen, Managing Director of ponticon GmbH, the system is ready for use in industrial series production: “Our pE3D machines have passed the acid test in various near-industry-scale projects performed by several renowned research institutions. 2023 will see the first machines go into operation in industry.”

ponticon at Formnext 2022:
Exhibition grounds Frankfurt/Main, Germany, 
from November 15 – 18, 2022
Hall 12.0, Stand D39