LaserBond (Sydney, New South Wales, Australia) has shipped its first customized laser cladding system to China in a AU$1.4 million (US$1.03 million) deal. The sale of the 1.6 × 5.5m laser, which has one-quarter of the company's previously developed 16kW laser cell, will also attract ongoing royalties and license fees, and is its first step in expanding its business.
The system design and integration for this export package was carried out within the company's in-house facilities, which use thermal coating techniques to produce hard-wearing components and products for the mining, power generation, manufacturing, and agriculture industries.
Many of the major components, assemblies, and technologies are developed and manufactured for heavy industry and protected with patents (and applications). Products are typically made from steel and then applied with materials such as nickel alloys, tungsten, titanium carbides and ceramics. Manufactured items include mining picks, furnace doors, and down-the-hole hammers.
LaserBond executive director Wayne Hooper says that cladding large mining industry components was different to other laser applications. "Our niche is focused at the heavy end—maintaining close operational control of the laser head and workpiece, over a long reach with heavy loads and sustained high temperatures called for a rethink in design of the multi-axis work piece manipulator and its associated control system. Many surface-engineered products for our resources sector customers require extended running times at high power levels. Some of these projects run 16 hours at full power."
|Laser cladding deposits a coating onto a metal component. (Credit: Creative Commons/The Lead South Australia)|
To accommodate these challenges, the company's engineers developed a number of innovations, including a powder-injection nozzle that can manage intense heat accumulating in the laser head in long runs. The heavy-duty workpiece manipulator provides more stable support of heavy, hot, large, and complex components, and the design of the control software offers more accuracy and provides a more-intuitive user interface.
For more information, please visit www.laserbond.com.au.