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Content archived on 2024-04-30

Innovative coatings on light alloys


Preliminary System Specification (sub-task 1.1 - completed);
Process Monitoring System Specification and Trials (sub-task 1.2 - completed);
Special Focusing Optics Specification for HPDL (sub-task 1.3 - completed);
Special Focusing Optics Design (sub-task 1.3 - completed);
Adaptation of Powder delivery devices (sub-task 1.4 - completed);
Processing Head Specification and preliminary design (sub-task 1.4 - completed);
Realisation of coaxial nozzle for Nd: YAG laser (sub-task 1.4 - completed);
Process Modelling methodologies specification (sub-task 2.1 - completed);
Development of analytical and FE models (sub-task 2.1 - completed);
Energy Coupling Analysis and Tests (sub-task 2.3 - completed);
HPDL Specification (sub-task 3.1 - completed);
Definition and Specification for HPDL modules (sub-task 3.2 - completed);
Realisation of Diode bars (sub-task 3.2 - completed);
Realisation of Fiber Coupling (sub-task 3.3 - completed);
Source and Fibre coupled HPDL modules design (sub-task 3.3 - completed);
Definition for metallurgical & tribological testing procedures (sub-task 4.3 - completed);
Data analysis for monitoring system assessment (sub-task 1.2 - completed);
Manufacturing of mid-range power laser diode (sub-task 3.4 - completed);
FE modelling procedures for product simulation (sub-task 2.2 - completed);
Parameters studies / characterisation of specific equipment (sub-task 4.1 - completed);
Development of innovative additional materials (sub-task 4.2 - completed);
Tribological and mechanical testing of specimens (sub-task 4.4 - completed);
Preliminary System integration (Task 5 - completed);
Assessment of design rules (sub-task 6.1 - completed);
Assessment of manufacturing procedure (sub-task 6.2 - completed);
Testing and analysis of real coated parts (sub- task 6.3 - completed).
Objectives and content Aluminium is playing an increasing role in modern manufacturing. Its low weight, its excellent mechanical properties and heat transmission capability, its environmental friendliness explain its popularity. The problem with aluminium alloys is that they exhibit poor tribological properties, i.e. they are subject to wear. This means that components subject to friction or corrosion experience a short lifetime and overhauling activities are required. A solution to the problem is to plug components of hard material upon the surface. This solution has number of drawbacks ranging from less than optimal product performance, extra manufacturing costs difficult recycling. The other solution is to submit the surface to a treatment aimed at improving its tribological characteristics: hardness and wear resistance. Among the many surface treatment technologies (electrode position, PVD, CVD, nitriding, plasma spraying) laser treatments offers unique advantages related to the localised action of the beam. Only with laser treatments it is possible to limit the treatment to selected spots without affecting the remaining areas. This feature limits the amount of energy required and eliminates the after treatments usually required. Promising as it is, laser coating applied to aluminium alloys is by no means popular in Europe.

In Japan instead Toyota is laser coating the valve seats of a mass production model. The goal of this project is to bridge this gap and develop the local and wide area laser coating to a level suitable for application in all industrial sectors. First of all the project will fill the knowledge gaps concerning the process (e.g. the control of the dilution range) identifying and optimising the control parameters. Based upon these results the project will draft a set of recommendations for designing the product. As a second step the project will characterise and standardise the necessary equipment making suitable for mass production. One of the barrier being the investment and the running cost, the project will develop a high power diode laser which will provide high source efficiency and reliability at a lower cost. The new device will be integrated as an ordinary tool in a few demonstration workstation equipped to perform machine cutting operations. The overall product, process and station performances will be gauged by means of two demonstrator applications: the first will be the coating of valve seats of a cylinder head (single-pass / local treatment) and the second will be the coating of a roller for printing application (multi-pass / wide area). By this approach the project will provide the market with the know-how, equipment and application evidence necessary to trigger the widespread diffusion of the technology both in mass production and at the service companies BE97-5024.

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Centro Ricerche Fiat ScpA
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Strada Torino 50
10043 Orbassano Torino

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Participants (8)