Developers of extreme high-speed laser material deposition process receive innovation award

July 25, 2018

July 25, 2018

Developers of extreme high-speed laser material deposition process receive innovation award

EHLA can be used to coat, repair or additively manufacture components in a particularly economical and environmentally friendly way (Courtesy Volker Lannert / Fraunhofer ILT)


The research team responsible for the development of Extreme High-Speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA) was recently awarded first prize in the biennial Berthold Leibinger Innovationspreis 2018, an award recognising innovations in the application or generation of laser light in any industry or field of technology. Consisting of members from the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT) and the RWTH Aachen University, Germany, the team will receive the award on September 21, 2018.

EHLA can be used to coat, repair or additively manufacture components in a particularly economical and environmentally friendly way. While in conventional laser deposition, the laser generates a weld pool on the surface of a component and fuses the metal powder, coaxially added simultaneously, to create the required shape. The powder then fuses with the surface of the part, gradually forming a protective coating.

By contrast, in the EHLA method, the laser strikes the powdery filler material above the weld pool, heating the material nearly to its melting point before it makes contact with the component. Consequently, the particles melt faster in the weld pool. This makes it possible to use energy much more efficiently.

Whereas normal laser deposition welding can coat only 10 – 40cm2 per minute, the EHLA method is said to achieve rates of over 250cm2 per minute. In addition, much thinner coatings with layer thicknesses of 10–250 µm are now possible. EHLA also permits a much finer laser focus, rendering the process considerably more energy-efficient, and can be used as an alternative to hard chrome plating chromium (VI) compounds or thermal spraying.

The EHLA research team includes Dr.-Ing. Andres Gasser and Dipl.-Ing. Thomas Schopphoven, Fraunhofer ILT, and Dipl.-Ing. Gerhard Maria Backes, Chair of Digital Additive Production DAP, RWTH Aachen University. Schopphoven, who is Head of the Productivity and Systems Engineering team in the Laser Material Deposition Group at Fraunhofer ILT, represented the research team during the jury session at the final stage of the Berthold Leibinger Innovationspreis, where he presented and explained their innovation alongside the seven other international teams in the final.

This is the latest in a series of prizes awarded to the developers of EHLA, following their receipt of the Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize in 2017 and the Steel Innovation Prize in 2018. It consists of a €50,000 endowment, which will be presented to the team in a ceremony set to take place at the headquarters of the TRUMPF Group in Ditzingen. Schopphoven commented, “In the laser industry, this is one of the world’s top-class awards. We are extremely pleased about the recognition of our work on energy- and resource-efficient production with laser light.”

EHLA has also found commercial success; since 2015, Dutch-based IHC Vremac Cylinders B.V. has employed the technology to coat hydraulic cylinders for worldwide offshore use. These cylinders have lengths of up to 10 m and diameters of up to 500 mm, and are coated with wear- and corrosion-resistant alloys which must meet the highest demands. ACunity GmbH, Aachen, a spin-off of Fraunhofer ILT, is targeting the offshore market in China and recently delivered three large EHLA systems to China’s Hebei Jingye Additive Manufacturing Technology Co., Ltd. for the environmentally-friendly coating of offshore hydraulic cylinders.

Schopphoven believes that further applications could be identified in the automotive industry. He stated, “the EHLA process is particularly suitable for the automotive industry, such as for the coating of brake discs, which were previously difficult to coat because of the high loads and high demands on efficiency and environmental friendliness.”

July 25, 2018

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Download PDF

Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Metal powders in Additive Manufacturing: An exploration of sustainable production, usage and recycling
  • Inside Wayland Additive: How innovation in electron beam PBF is opening new markets for AM
  • An end-to-end production case study: Leveraging data-driven machine learning and autonomous process control in AM
  • Consolidation, competition, and the cost of certification: Insight from New York’s AM Strategies 2024
  • Scandium’s impact on the Additive Manufacturing of aluminium alloys
  • AM for medical implants: An analysis of the impact of powder reuse in Powder Bed Fusion

The world of metal AM to your inbox

Don't miss any new issue of Metal AM magazine, and get the latest industry news. Sign up to our twice weekly newsletter.

Sign up

Discover our magazine archive…

The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:

  • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
  • Articles on technology and application trends
  • Information on materials developments
  • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
  • International industry news

All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.

Browse the archive

Looking for AM machines, metal powders or part manufacturing services?

Discover suppliers of these and more in our comprehensive advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of Metal AM magazine.

  • AM machines
  • Process monitoring & calibration
  • Heat treatment & sintering
  • HIP systems & services
  • Pre- & post-processing technology
  • Powders, powder production and analysis
  • Part manufacturers
  • Consulting, training & market data
View online
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap