Additive manufacturing enables fast modification of moulds
Close contours reduce need for finishing work
The laser system’s controls permit on-the-fly adjustment of the process parameters to meet changing requirements. Laser intensity can be varied: beginning with a fast build-up, output and powder feed rate are reduced toward the end to create surfaces close to the final contours.
The result is claimed to be a crack-free, high-quality structure optimally fused with the base material, with a hardness of 45-65 HRC. O.R. Laser also say that time-consuming preheating of the mould insert is no longer needed and that base materials are less stressed which reduces the risk of cracks and material undercut that conventional repair methods often cause.
Apart from time savings, the company also claims reduced material costs. Since the DMD process produces geometries that closely approximate the final contours, little follow-up machining is needed.
Markus Fischer, the managing director of HWF, says: “Laser cladding is here to stay in tool and mould making. DMD has made us more productive by letting us take a different approach when moulds change. We have firmly integrated it into our process and CAD/CAM landscape.”