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June 16, 2003

2 Min Read
E-shots Web Exclusive: Laser cladding sets sights on U.S. market

Aiming to replace Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GATW), the use of laser cladding is being promoted as a lower-temperature alternative to tool surface restoration and repair that won’t compromise a mold’s physical and mechanical properties. More widely accepted and utilized, GATW uses a manual filler wire application technique to clad large or small sections. In the process, an electrical current creates an ionized arc across an open gap of ionized noble gas. Gases like argon or helium sustain a stable arc, and the advent of variable potentiometers allowed welders greater manipulation of the arc.

This process began nearly 50 years ago, and the successive gains in the electronic controls have allowed for even more precise welding, ensuring the base materials of the tool maintain their physical properties and aren’t exposed to undue heat levels. As micro-arc welding has progressed, work has become so fine that welder sight magnification is often needed to see the work piece.

Further advancing tool surface maintenance and restoration are industrial lasers that provide control, high thermal energy, and versatility. More popular in Europe thanks to companies like Trumpf Laser Schramburg GmbH of Germany, laser cladding has yet to gain wide acceptance in the states. In spite of this, Trumpf has begun marketing its popular PowerWeld system in the United States. Joining Technologies of Connecticut has taken up the cause as the official U.S. distributor for PowerWeld, and it has emphasized injection molders, who, as they purchase more tools overseas, will be forced to do more and more tool maintenance themselves, since shipping a mold back to China or other foreign locales for maintenance/repairs is neither cost nor time effective.

For more information on laser welding contact Joining Technologies (East Granby, CT) at (800) 266-1966 or visit at www.joiningtech.com.

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