Hard chrome plating has long been the preferred method for hardfacing and dimensional restoration of machine parts due to its traditionally recognized benefits, including:
- No heat is introduced into the part;
- The resulting restoration is mechanically extremely hard; and
- The costs are attractively low.
However, hard chrome plating also has numerous widely recognized shortcomings, including:
- No genuine metallurgical bond is formed – chromed surfaces are prone to chipping and delamination;
- The thickness of the deposited hard chrome layer is subject to limitations;
- As an electrochemical process, hard chrome plating is very slow; and
- There is a need for premachining prior to the plating process.
Due to these shortcomings, hard chrome plating has significant limitations in both quality and performance, notably in refurbishing applications that require rapid turnaround and thicker buildup.
Fortunately, due to dramatic reductions in the cost of lasers in last few years, laser cladding has become a significantly and increasingly cost effective alternative traditional to hard chrome plating.
The benefits of laser cladding include, but are not limited to:
- Very minimal heat is introduced into the part, resulting in no distortion;
- Quick turnaround – laser cladding is a substantially faster process than hard chrome plating;
- A true metallurgical bond is formed with the substrate – there is no more chipping;
- Premachining is not necessary in most cases; and thus
- Laser cladding is overall cost effective when compared to hard chrome plating.
Laser cladding is growing rapidly in popularity, and is currently ideal for such applications as CNC spindle repair and resurfacing of motor shafts and other rotating components.
- Laser cladding refurbishment of parts up to 5 ft in diameter x 20 ft long
- Coatings as thin as 0.010” to as thick as 0.250”
- Variety of material choices including with hardness ranging from 22 HRC to 60 HRC
- Post grinding services
- Quick turnaround