Connecticut-based Joining Technologies is following last year’s start of a laser-additive manufacturing cell by forming a cooperation agreement with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology and its U.S. subsidiary. The Joining Technologies Research Center will provide R&D services for laser additive manufacturing, as well as system design and integration. LAM accessories (nozzles, cladding heads) will be available for sale, too.
Laser additive manufacturing, or laser cladding, involves using a laser to melt a powdered or wire feedstock material, in order to deposit and bond it to a substrate, or to produce a near-net shape part.
Fraunhofer ILT will supply the JRTC with laser additive manufacturing research and development services, as well as system design and integration and accessory sales, including nozzles and cladding heads. Tailor-made laser additive manufacturing solutions are being developed for direct photonic production from CAD data to a part made from serial materials; maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of high value components; and wear and corrosion protection.
The developers will customize laser-additive manufacturing solutions for direct photonic production from CAD data to a part made from serial materials. In addition the cooperative venture will perform maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) of high-value components, and perform wear and corrosion protection for critical parts.
Joining Tech is a Connecticut operation that restores welds on tool steel dies and molds, and manufactures precision-welded products like medical devices, sensors, and controls, and restores aerospace and manufacturing parts for OEMs. It offers laser and electron-beam, as well as gas tungsten arc welding, for critical applications in aerospace and medical device manufacturing, among other precision manufacturing sectors.
“Our new partnership with Fraunhofer ILT and Fraunhofer CLT will provide numerous benefits to customers,” stated Scott Poeppel, Joining Technologies’ manager of additive processes. “Combining the precision and reliability of Joining Technologies’ laser-cladding processes with ILT’s cutting-edge laser additive research and development capabilities offers customers enhanced information on using laser-additive manufacturing for repair or restoration in aerospace, power generation, valve, and OEM-supplied component applications.”
The Fraunhofer Institute is a widely known laser development and contract research institute that develops laser beam sources and components, studies uses for modern laser measurement and testing technology, and performs some laser-supported manufacturing. It is also works on laser plant technology and process control. Its subsidiary, Fraunhofer USA Center for Laser Technology, will be a part of the Joining Technologies Research Center (JTRC), too.
Dr. Ingomar Kelbassa, vice and academic director of LLT, RWTH Aachen University and head of the RWTH LLT department at Fraunhofer ILT, indicated that the JTRC partnership will offer a range of services from feasibility studies via process development, validation and certification, to systems engineering and system integration of a final industrial implementation at a customer’s site.
“By using such process-specific advantages as nearly unrestricted geometrical freedom, material freedom and achievable thermo-mechanical properties of the parts built-up, it is possible to manufacture parts designed specifically for their function,” Dr. Kelbassa stated. “Laser additive manufacturing can therefore be considered as the key enabler for the green manufacturing of new and future generation parts.”