TWI launches EHLA research project

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EHLA can operate up to 10 times faster than conventional LMD. Image: Fraunhofer ILT

Following its acquisition of the UK’s first EHLA system, TWI is funding a core research project investigating the capabilities and future potential of EHLA technology.

The institute is also looking to recruit a PhD student in the coming months to join its EHLA team and propel the research undertaken in the project forward. 

The new project will investigate the processing and material property outcomes of EHLA, a high-speed cladding process orginally develop at Fraunhofer ILT. It enables surfaces to be covered greater than ten times faster than is currently possible using conventional laser metal deposition (LMD) systems. At the same time, bonds formed between the substrate material and the coating are stronger than those in other high-speed technologies, such as spraying,                                                                                                                                   meaning that coatings are stronger and longer lasting.  

EHLA coatings are therefore of interest to the automotive, aerospace, and oil and gas industries.

The technology provides a longer-term solution to issues such as corrosion and wear protection, at a speed that enables mass manufacture. Future applications may also involve the development of complex material joining or hybrid coatings, where EHLA is capable of material pairings that cannot reliably be produced using current technologies.

Through the core research programme, investigations into the material properties and compositions formed with EHLA deposition will take place, with comparisons against conventional LMD processing. Initial investigations are underway concerning Inconel alloy coatings, which present a potential avenue for replacement of hexavalent chrome plating.

An advert for the PhD student role in the EHLA team will be disseminated via the NSIRC programme.

More on EHLA

Matthias Möllenhoff discusses the benefits of the EHLA, and how it is gaining traction in China 

Driving deposition: More on the devlopment and advantages of EHLA

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