Maximum Speed in Three Dimensions
Unique Properties of 3D-EHLA Process
The EHLA process used by ponticon was developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT and the RWTH Aachen University Chair Digital Additive Production DAP. Based on the further developed 3D-EHLA process the advantages of this technology can be used for the first time for coating, repair and additive manufacturing of components of any geometry as well as the development of novel alloy systems.
Because rotationally symmetric bodies can be accelerated to required feed rates with relatively little effort, the application of EHLA technology has been limited so far. The pE3D system of ponticon, designed for maximum stiffness and dynamics, is the first to achieve the feed rates required for the EHLA process in all three spatial directions. Therefore, components with free-form and plain surfaces may now be coated, repaired and additively manufactured utilizing a diverse material portfolio.
The German abbreviation EHLA is short for extreme high-speed laser metal deposition. This designation is due to the high speed at which the nozzle used for powder supply moves in relation to the work piece. Contrary to the conventional method of laser metal deposition, the metal powder is already melted above the surface of the work piece. At the same time, a defined proportion of the laser beam creates a homogeneous melting zone on the surface of the work piece. Hence, the penetration depth of the heat-affected zone is limited to only a few micrometers. The melted poweder hits the surface of the work piece and metallurgically bonds to its base material.
The described process enables a significant increase of feed rate. Additionally, the method allows for the production of very filigree structures with little surface roughness. Even materials that would form undesired intermetallic phases or would not even connect metallurgically during conventional processes may be processed due to the described principle.
Demonstration of 3D-EHLA
The video shows the real-time production of a 3D-geometry made from AlSi7Mg aluminium alloy at a feed rate of 20 m/min. The required production time for a height of 15 mm and a wall thickness of about 2 mm is less than three minutes.