Smart laser head makes repairs and production technology interesting for companies

Laser cladding is a technique used to coat or repair industrial materials in a sustainable way. Through the European ALAS project, VITO helped create a smart laser head that makes cladding more convenient, easier to control and faster.

Laser cladding is a technique that applies a perfectly adhering coating to industrial materials. It is uniquely suited to apply coatings in a safe and accurate manner, create real components in 3D or repair metal surfaces. 

Between 2012 and 2014, a consortium of European companies and knowledge institutes studied the existing cladding technique. With support from the European Union, the partners in the ALAS project (Adaptive LASer cladding System with variable spot sizes) developed a smart laser head. The laser head allows cladding with variable spot sizes, which increases the profitability of the cladding process. Moreover, it guarantees a consistent quality of the applied layers. A third benefit is a simplified interface, which allows operators to program complicated cladding tracks easily. The new laser head takes another step towards integrating the technique in the industry.

VITO's role

VITO has been an expert on laser cladding for 15 years and has already conducted several demonstration projects, together with the industry. In partnership with AIMEN and Fraunhofer, VITO assembled a prototype of the cladding head, which was tested in VITO's laser laboratories.

ALAS: facts and figures
  • Partner project with eight partners in five European countries
  • Project within the European Seventh Framework Programme for SMEs FP7-SME (2007-2013)
  • Duration: September 2012 - September 2014
  • Budget: €1,472,000, of which the European Union contributed €1,076,000
     
The new laser head takes another step towards integrating the technique in the industry.