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Published: 23 January 2018

The project is a collaboration between Luleå University of Technology (LTU) and three world leading companies; Höganäs, Sandvik SMRT and SPH. The project aims at verifying excellent wear and impact properties for the newly developed cobalt free cladding powder called Rockit during laser cladding. The understanding of the process and consequentially resulting material properties will increase. Furthermore, drill heads for rock drilling and soil tips will be laser cladded with Rockit and thereafter be tested in real environments.

Project idea and potential

Within the industry, there are many different types of tools and machine parts exposed to wear in various tough environments. In many environments the wear is not constant, but for example plows, trough screws, saw blades and rock drills are exposed to shocks of stones or other hard particles. These bumps create plastic deformations (microbreaks) that cause exposed parts to often be replaced.

The Swedish company Höganäs has developed a whole new group of powder-based surface coatings
(Rockit TM ) that better resist deformation and cracking caused by shocks than other materials. Although the material is tested in a laboratory environment, it is not known how the coatings behave under real conditions and may need to be adapted depending on the application. The project aims to study how the laser metal deposition process behaves with the new powder with special high speed filming technology, thereby optimizing this for different applications and substrates.

The project includes two different product groups where identified needs for increased performance are identified; mountain drills, and soil spikes (for cultivation machines in agriculture). To verify the properties, the coated surfaces will be tested under real-world conditions, in addition to, for example, two-body abrasion and Impact wear testing methods. These results will be the basis for implementing the results for project applications, but also opens for further realization of the potential of the new metal powder.

Expected effects and results

 It is attractive for customers to use tools that lasts longer. Fewer changes of drill heads during deep drilling can provide large profits since a drill head change may require several hours. For farmers it is critical to be able to work when the weather allows, which improved cultivation tips enable. For both Sandvik SMRT and SPH, this means that means that market shares can be retained or even increase. Optimised and investigated process behaviour and resulting wear properties for Höganäs new cobalt free powder may give rise to new applications and thereby open new market segments. 

Scheduled planning and implementation

The project is divided into three stages: 1. LTU will with Höganäs new powder Rockit optimise laser cladding for relevant provided substrates, regarding process efficiency and resulting microstructure. 2. The creation of specimens and characterisation of these surfaces will be performed primarily by LTU, but also complemented by Höganäs. 3. Laser cladding of demonstrators from SPH and Sandvik will be performed and also tested in real environment for further evaluation. In this stage, an implementation plan is also developed and the results are disseminated in suitable channels.