Barreclad - Development of a first-time-right internal laser cladding technology to coat automated into barrels with a controlled and validated process

Can you describe the technology behind your experiment?

BARRELCLAD will implement an automated production flow including a monitor & control system to coat inside twin barrels with laser cladding technology. The main goal is to present to the market a competitive internal laser cladding of barrels while maintaining a cost-efficient production, a reduced setup for variable parts and a high deposition rate.

The results will be achieved by enabling zero-defect production of a variety of barrels by increasing the production rate, customizing software for the set-up (as with Robotic automation), infrared monitoring and feedback control while improving the quality prediction on melt pool monitoring and control to steer the process.

How will your solution impact the industry?

The impact in the market will be related to a cost-competitive coating alternative for Plasma Torch Arc and thermal spraying with better performance, a solution that will answer to several current technologies lacks:

  • Deposition cost is too high (vs Plasma Torch Arc welding)
  • Process quality monitoring difficult
  • Setup, teaching and repair process defects time consuming

The laser cladding process is a rather new technology but has been around for more than 10 years. Despite its large number of benefits such as superior mechanical properties, a limited amount of heat input, low amount of dilution and metallurgical bonding; the process is not yet commonly applied in industry, since it needs a large amount of expertise and skills of technicians, operators and engineers. The innovation in this experiment is to transfer all the intelligence needed for depositing high-quality coatings inside a laser cladding machine which enables the process to be applied at the industrial level.

Barreclad

What do you expect to achieve from cooperation with PULSATE?

Cooperation with PULSATE will bring technical assistance and expertise in solving specific topics like high power Laser Metal Deposition, powder size distribution, optimal speeds and layer thickness guidance. Our leading technical mentor is Research Center from Spain: AIMEN that has a long experience in laser process development.

Another valuable aspect of being part of the PULSATE is the opportunity of building a network with experts, meet potential partners for future cooperation and get direct contacts to discuss innovative ideas.

What are the main challenges for your experiment?

Our 3 main challenges are:

  • Achieve high deposition rate: because Internal cladding optics have difficulties for dissipating their heat away, too high powers result in damages, we wanted to overcome this
  • Setup and parametric program, this can be done by building a rigid cladding setup for variable geometries without oscillations, so we are developing a parametric program that can cope with all the features
  • Control the process based on the images in the correct and stable direction

What improvement in your respective technology do you wish to see in the near future?

Our focus throughout the LBAAM technology is oriented on transferring our niche product to a standard solution as an alternative to other processes. Current processes are mainly feedforward steered processes however influence of geometry, deformations and many other influence the result, more or custom sensors are futural interesting:

  • Acoustic emission sensors
  • More thermal monitoring

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