Challenge & Progress
INCLAD is developing laser-based equipment that provides anti-abrasive coatings on the inside of tubes or hollow parts. The assessment aims to increase the robustness of the beam guiding system and to protect it against backscattering and powder contamination. One component of the final solution is an imaging system for coaxial remote monitoring of the melt pool. In combination with process map charts, this system will allow the operators and customers to review and qualify the course of the manufacturing process.
Inside cladding optics use the laser metal deposition process (LMD) to repair or enhance components like oil drilling tools, extruder cylinders and pipelines. The process offers a superior layer quality, accurate geometry and little cost for finishing. Restricted accessibility and high demands on wear and corrosion resistance make inside cladding a challenging technology.
The successful completion of the assessment will enable an easy process set-up despite limited accessibility, monitoring and prevention of deviations from the planned processing. This avoids scrapping of expensive parts such as drilling tools. The market which can be opened by such a solution can be estimated through the report of Abakan. They claim annual cost of 2.1 trillion USD for wear and corrosion through early replacement, lost production, poor performance and damage while Applied Market Information estimates the European demand for pipeline coatings to one billion USD. These potentials and economic losses are addressed by the INCLAD solution.
Currently, the assessment has moved forward on numerous criteria: IXUN increased the immersion depth of the optics and at the same time reduced the weight and structural integrity. Fraunhofer ILT assisted in the development of the online process monitoring and visualisation which was coaxially integrated into the beam path. Through the close collaboration, this has been achieved without adversely affecting the reliability and flexibility of the INCLAD optics for the envisaged purpose. Moreover, a thermal process control has been installed that enables enhanced coating performance and continuous process monitoring.