VCST (St.-Truiden, Belgium) is a global supplier of precision powertrain and brake components for automotive OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers. The company has more than 1000 employees in six countries worldwide. VCST has entered into a contract with Laser Cladding Venture (LCV; Opglabbeek, Belgium), which specializes in laser cladding, to manufacture gears for prototypes of automotive gearboxes.
The functional requirements of prototype manufacturing are strength, fatigue, and cost. Laser cladding is on the rise for wear protection and repair, but the technology also lends itself to 3D printing.
For the development, LCV delivered gears on a cylindrical substrate, post-processed using milling. In addition, graded materials of a wear-resistant X42Cr13 on a tough CrMo alloy are also printed.
|3D printing of gears through laser cladding for the development of concepts for automotive gearboxes.|
The laser-built, single-material parts are tested for contact wear (25 million cycles at 1200MPa) and fatigue (1 million cycles at 650MPa). The advantages of 3D printing through laser cladding are primarily mechanical integrity.
In addition, LCV prints parts with dimensions up to 3m at high build rates, which makes laser cladding a valid alternative for manufacturing metallic prototypes.
For more information, please visit www.vcstg.com and www.lcv.be.