TWI has been developing the laser metal deposition (LMD) process for the last decade, exploring its use for everything from repair of high-value parts to fabrication of large freeform components.
Our expertise covers every aspect of LMD, including design, material selection, configuration, fabrication, finishing, non-destructive testing and powder recycling. Our multidisciplinary teams can work with you through every stage, from concept creation to finishing and metallurgical analysis, whether you are using LMD in-house or we are manufacturing parts on your behalf.
Our specialised LMD equipment, including two high-specification Trumpf lasers, rotary manipulators and robot arms, allows us to produce parts ranging in size from a few centimetres to more than a metre across.
Capabilities at a glance
- Design guidelines
- Fabrication and repair of parts in titanium, nickel, aluminium, steel and cobalt
- Controlled preheat and cooling rates, and post-processing heat treatments
- Process and procedure development for new materials
- Mechanical and metallurgical analysis of LMD builds
- Surface finishing
- Non-destructive testing of LMD parts
What is laser metal deposition?
Laser metal deposition is an additive manufacturing (AM) process that uses a laser beam as an energy source, focused upon a substrate through a nozzle to create a melt pool. Material is then added to the melt pool as a powder or wire.
The melted particles fuse and solidify while the nozzle is manipulated around the substrate to form a desired layer of the component. The nozzle’s path is determined by a CAD model, which is sliced into layers using specialist software. Layer by layer, a 3D part is created
Benefits of laser metal deposition
Laser metal deposition has many benefits that together result in faster production times and lower costs:
- Reduced material wastage (improved buy-to-fly ratio) and tooling costs
- Large working envelope for large AM components
- Near-net and net-shape capabilities
- Capable of producing functionally graded parts
- Allows for fully customised parts to suit individual requirements
- Effective for both fabrication and repair
The LMD process conducts much less heat into the substrate material than many conventional techniques. This creates a fine microstructure, with low levels of dilution between layers and low distortion.
Where can laser metal deposition be used?
Laser metal deposition can be used effectively in any industry that requires the creation or repair of high-value or bespoke parts, especially those on a larger scale. We have delivered LMD solutions to companies in the aerospace, oil and gas, power and tooling sectors.
Contact us to find out how we can help.
Click here to see a virtual tour of our laser additive manufacturing facility in Sheffield.