Ionbond Controlled laser beams can improve tools’ resistance to wear, fatigue

Editor: Eric Culp

Laser technology specialist Ionbond provides laser hardening services to tool and mould makers and manufacturers of machine components. A laser beam applied to local areas of a mould, tool or component can increase wear and fatigue resistance in the treated zones of the workpiece, with minimum distortion. Rapid rates of heating and cooling result in fine surface microstructures that exhibit desirable mechanical properties.

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The service provider employs CO2 and Nd:YAG lasers and robot handling systems that have an extensive capacity and offers a diverse range of treatments. The company can process parts weighing as much as 10 tonnes. In addition, it can harden tool and component areas as long as 5 m to a depth of 3 mm. In-house experts can assist customers by devising the appropriate engineered hardening solutions for their specific problems.

The range of treatable materials extends from low-alloy steels to highly alloyed tool steels and includes hardenable stainless steels. Also, certain cast irons can easily be laser-hardened; their ferrite content must be low. As examples, 1.2363 tool steel can be hardened to 64–66 HRc, and 1.2767 can be brought up to 58–60.

Ionbond’s laser hardening process involves martensitic transformation of the microstructure of the affected layer. Localised absorption of the laser beam increases surface temperature rapidly, after which conduction of the heat into the relatively cool substrate effects the necessary transformation. Compressive stresses also are generated in the hardened layer. Rapid processing and CNC control make laser-beam hardening an economical material treatment.

Ionbond Germany GmbH

Nuremberg, Germany