Wear-Resistant Tools Through Laser Deposition Welding
Pforzheim University has been working on improving laser deposition welding applications for several years. The current project is on metal powder injection moulding of abrasive materials in tools reinforced by laser deposition welding. This project has been developed in the mechanical engineering department at the engineering faculty as part of the subproject on laser-deposition-welded wear protection with layered functional surfaces for MIM (Metal Injection Moulding) injection moulds. MIM is a modern production process that can produce small to medium-sized components that have complex geometries. "We’re working on making MIM tools more hardwearing. For this purpose, carbide is partially applied in a multilayer system by means of laser powder cladding. The process allows the tool to be individually adapted to the tool’s loads, and its service life can hence be multiplied", explains Tom Cruz, the research fellow responsible for this project at the university.
After undergoing bench tests to measure the ablation and surface breakdown of conventionally hardened tooling steel and laser-deposition-welded functional layers, the functional surfaces of uncoated tools exhibit plastic deformation and markedly increased material removal. The reference samples of the coated protective layers show no comparable wear. After successful completion of the first part of the project and selection of the appropriate carbide base material, the first pre-series tool will be reinforced in the following stages in order to mould further samples to investigate the wearing behaviour.
This project was developed in cooperation with Ohnmacht & Baumgärtner from Ispringen, Germany, where the production process was transferred from research into practice. The project is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy and the Central Innovation Programme for SMEs.