The Laser Processing division which emerged from the formerly Laser Center Leoben is your competent expert and partner in laser materials processing. Due to our long-time expertise we offer you competent advice, process development, small batch production, transfer into serial readiness as well as process optimisation and quality management during serial production in the fields of laser welding, laser cladding, laser alloying and additive manufacturing. Laser beam analysis, which is essential in many cases of laser processing, completes our portfolio.
Our main competences in laser materials processing lie in the fields of laser welding, laser cladding and laser alloying. Being widespread technologies nowadays, laser welding and laser cladding are essential standard in certain industrial sectors and gain more and more importance in others. Here we offer results-oriented process development until serial readiness including quality management, with respect to either a future in-house small batch production or transfer into serial production at the customer site. Laser alloying, which cannot be substituted by any alternative technology, has been developed into serial readiness and is since then realized in a world-wide unrivaled industrial process on behalf of two major customers.
Concerning additive manufacturing of metallic parts both laser-based technologies are present: Laser beam melting, also known as 3D metal printing, and laser metal deposition using the powder-nozzle concept give an excellent complement.
Although laser welding (with or without addition) is already standard in many industrial sectors, the development of new laser welding processes is still essential. The always recurring challenges are:
Laser welding of exactly defined welding seams in width and depth
Laser welding of unusual material combinations or novel alloys
Laser welding of components having difficult geometries up to finest joints with lowest thermal load
For laser welding we are equipped with high-power lasers in the multi-kilowatt range as well as with special laser optics (scanner optics, bifocal optics) for optimum results. Our equipment also includes an articulated welding robot that can be used for the realisation of laser welding on large components with complex 3D welding paths.
Both laser-based additive manufacturing technologies for metallic parts are present at our site:
Generative laser cladding:
Using the powder-nozzle concept (laser metal deposition) three-dimensional parts can be produced with the advantage of the combination of different materials. Therefore the design of a gradient in material properties as well as the manufacturing of so-called functional tools made of different alloys is possible. Another advantage of this technology is that cladding can be done on any geometry. The final machining can be done at our site within a combined laser and milling station. Such a combination, which is commercially available only since 2014, is running as a custom-built machine since 2004 at our site.
Laser beam melting:
This rather knew technology, which is often called 3D metal printing, offers the possibility to produce highly complex parts in highest precision directly out of the CAD data. The achievable accuracy and surface roughness lies below 50 μm. Concerning geometrical complexity there are nearly no limits, which leads to the feasibility of producing components that are either not or only with highest efforts feasible by conventional manufacturing processes.
Laser cladding is used to apply protective layers against wear or corrosion onto tools or machinery parts. In comparison to other cladding techniques laser cladding is excelling at lowest thermal load thus minimizing the occurring distortions. Because of the precision and stability of the laser beam even complex claddings are feasible. Our competences also include process development of complex layer systems optimized for a certain application.
Another more and more important application of laser cladding is the repairing of tools, dies and machinery parts: High quality components can be repaired via laser cladding in a cost-effective way by cladding a comparable alloy onto the worn out location.
Generative laser cladding (laser metal deposition), which is used to produce entire parts by cladding one layer upon another, is a further application. Here we are capable of doing the required intermediate and final processing within one combined laser and milling station.
Laser alloying is a special technique that has been transferred into serial readiness by our group. It is based on the addition of small amounts of alloying elements into the weld pool, thus generating a new alloy with drastically improved wear resistance on the selected areas after re-solidification. Main application is the local hardening of machinery components made of a cost-saving base material. Laser alloying is since then realised at our site within a world-wide unrivalled and patent-registered industrial process.
Laser beam analysis
One of the basics of quality management in serial production is the stability of the laser beam parameters. It is often the long-term slow drift of these parameters leading to a loss in manufacturing quality and process speed. Laser beam analysis includes at least the measurement of laser power and beam diameter. These two parameters have the main influence on the process results. Therefore a frequent laser beam analysis is inevitable in most cases. Customers to which quality assurance is essential, know about the importance of laser beam analysis and gladly rely on our experience.