Laser Cladding vs Electroplating

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The laser cladding method is free of chemicals and hence ecologically benign. There are several different types of hardcoats available, including iron-based, nickel-based, and cobalt-based alloy coatings. Laser clad coatings are defect-free, have excellent bonding strength, and are far more durable than electroplated coatings.

Electroplating is a popular anti-corrosion and wear-resistant coating technology. The hard chromium coating produced by electroplating, on the other hand, contains microcracks and a low bonding force between the coating and the substrate. As a result, cracking and peeling are common during electroplating, and there is a significant pollution and power consumption issue.

What Is Laser Cladding?

Laser cladding, also known as laser metal deposition, is a process for depositing one material on top of another. A stream of metallic powder or wire is fed into
a melt pool formed by a laser beam as it scans across the target surface, producing a coating of the desired material.

Laser cladding technology allows materials to be deposited accurately, selectively and with minimal heat input into the underlying substrate.

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Advantages of Laser Cladding

The benefits of laser cladding include higher quality coating material (including high bond strength and integrity) with less distortion and dilution, as well as improved surface quality. These benefits include

  • Capability to precisely insert specific performance-enhancing substance where needed
  • Can be utilized with a wide range of materials as both the substrate and the layer, including custom alloys or metal matrix composite (MMC) designs.
  • Within the deposits, there is little to no porosity (>99.9% density).
    A narrow heat affected zone (EHLA as low as 10m) derives from a relatively low heat input.
  • The necessity for corrective machining is reduced when the substrate has little deformation.
  • Automation and integration into CNC and CAD/CAM manufacturing systems are simple.
  • shortened production times
  • Thermal control is improved using laser power modulation.
  • Capability to manufacture functionally graded pieces
  • Deposition rates that are precise, depending on equipment and application parameters
  • Excellent mechanical characteristics
  • Suitable for the replacement of worn components

Disadvantages of Laser Cladding

  • While there are several benefits to laser cladding, there are a few downsides to the technique, which include:
  • Expensive capital equipment setup costs
  • Large equipment is typically not portable, however portable on-site solutions are available.
  • High build speeds can cause cracking (however in some cases, this can be avoided with extra thermal management methods such as preheat and post deposit-cooling control).

What Is Electroplating?

Electrochemistry is the process of bonding very thin layers of one metal to the surface of another metal at the molecular level. The procedure itself entails the construction of an electrolytic cell, which is a device that employs electricity to deliver molecules to a specific spot.

Advantages of Electroplating

  • Provides Substrate material protection: One of the most significant advantages is that it protects things from corrosion and tarnishing. Furthermore, it enhances item shock resistance and heat resistance.
  • Reduces friction: When metals are brushed together, electroplating them reduces friction. As a result, the scraping and heat created are reduced. Furthermore, reduced friction means less wear and tear, allowing you to utilize goods for a longer amount of time.
  • Improving Object Properties: This technique endows things with additional qualities like as thickness, magnetism, and conductivity. This allows the method to be used in the production of electronics and other items that require materials with similar qualities.
  • Increased adhesion: In certain circumstances, the electroplated surface is only an intermediate phase rather than the final coat. The surface functions as a glue, connecting the base material with the outer coating and enhancing adherence.

Disadvantages of Electroplating

  • Pollution of the Environment: When not done correctly, this procedure might result in hazardous waste that is harmful to the environment. However, good waste management might help you avoid this.
  • Setup costs money: A complete setup for this process is highly expensive since metals, chemicals, and other expensive equipment must be obtained before it can be used.
  • It takes time: Metal deposition happens slowly and takes a long period. It takes significantly longer when the material requires more than one layer.

Applications of Electroplated Parts

Electroplating is used in a variety of sectors. Let’s take a look at a couple of them.

  • Aerospace: Because aerospace aircraft components are frequently subjected to considerable temperature variations, coating them helps to extend their lifespan. Furthermore, it increases the resistance of the base metal to wear and strain.
  • Automotive: Automotive businesses utilize electroplating metals such as chromium and nickel to different automobile and motorbike parts to obtain an attractive finish.
  • Medical and dental services: Electroplated items are used in medical and dental equipment such as forceps and implants, as well as replacement joints, screws, and plates. This coating protects them from corrosion.
  • Prototyping: Because prototyping bespoke or low-volume metal components has traditionally been costly, manufacturers are now combining the process with 3D printing when prototyping. This saves money and time.

Laser Cladding vs Electroplating Summary

Electroplating is easy, inexpensive, and harmful to the environment.Laser cladding provides the advantages of high energy, low heat input, nearly minimal workpiece deformation, and a smooth cladding surface. Despite the significant initial cost, it has evolved into a pollution-free surface alteration method.

Laser cladding, with its longer durability, lower overall cost, and better technical level, will illuminate the future growth of the remanufacturing area.

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