Laser Technology Toughens Machining Dies
The advantage of laser technology in surface treatment
With the development of new technology and new process, there are many traditional methods are not applicable. To some complex shaped molds, laser is an ideal surface treatment. Laser technology has no distortion, higher surface hardness, more wear resistant and long service life.
Pressing dies for such manufacturing applications are costly, usually one-of-a-kind items made from special raw materials. So to keep costs down, manufacturers need to increase the lifetime of dies while reducing set-up times. The good method is laser-metal deposition. The laser precisely melts the surface of the die and suitable filler material to produce a local layer that will guard against wear on the die’s surface.
This process increases the robustness and resilience of the stainless steel die at critical points. The laser treatment is completed in fractions of a second. What has been lacking until its recent breakthrough is a universal, reproducible process for practical industrial use.
Using a laser: Lifetime up by 150%
Laser treatment of forming dies, such as are used in the manufacture of automobile parts, makes them more robust and resistant to wear, an industrial R&D partnership has found. Using a laser to alloy surfaces with filler material can increase the service life of dies by 150%.
The researchers rebuilt a conventional five-axis milling machine so that it could be used to alloy forming dies automatically by laser. The laser machine can be embedded into the current manufacturing process and besides increasing die lifetime by over 150%, the process also improves the quality of components and allows for planning set-up times with greater precision.
The software allows all the requisite laser surface treatment processes to be controlled in a clear, reproducible manner. All necessary process parameters are transmitted to the machine without the need for any interface. Processes can be simulated in detail and optimized in advance of actual processing operations.