Archive: Jun 2023

On Track Railroad Laser Additive Repair Manganese Steel

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Railroads rely heavily on the efficiency and reliability of their rail network infrastructure. In the USA, railroads spend billions of dollars on rail networks for replacement, improvement, and expansion. Trackwork frogs and crossing points are a particularly special component that requires constant and special attention. These are major track components for passing lines, turnouts, switching, and classification yards. These frogs are cast austenitic manganese steel (AMS) or Hadfield steel due to their excellent work-hardening characteristics and high toughness.

However, this chemistry creates a unique challenge when welding repairs in the field. Primarily, the traditional weld buildup repairs often only last weeks to six months before requiring additional maintenance, leading to a vicious cycle of repeat damage and repair and finally replacement. This is costly from a component and labor cost but, more importantly, tracks downtime or reduces operational speeds.

This article describes a patented laser additive technology to repair manganese steel castings for dramatically better and longer-lasting solutions.

Understanding the Challenge of Repairing Manganese Steel Castings

Repairing manganese steel castings poses unique challenges due to the material’s properties. Manganese steel is very heat sensitive, making it difficult to weld. Excess heat during the traditional welding leads to material changes resulting in cracking and spallation.

Another challenge is the presence of impurities and inclusions that can make it even more difficult to repair. In addition, these impurities can lead to porosity in the weld, reducing its strength and durability. Moreover, the high carbon content of manganese steel can make it prone to cracking and heat-affected zone (HAZ) embrittlement during the welding process. This can result in weak or brittle welds susceptible to failure.

Adding to these challenges, repairs are often needed in remote locations along the railway line. This can make it difficult to access the damaged components, schedule track time, and perform repairs quickly and efficiently. As a result, it is crucial to choose a reliable and fast welding process to repair special trackwork frogs in challenging railway environments that don’t reduce track utilization time.

Overcoming Repair Challenges With Laser Additive Technology

Specialized welding techniques and filler materials are required to address the challenges of repairing manganese steel castings. One innovative solution that has been developed is using laser cladding or laser additive technology.

The Union Pacific first proposed this approach, and Titanova was tasked with exploring its potential benefits. To further develop this strategy, we partnered with Holland Engineering to refine the technology and create a robust solution for repairing manganese steel castings.

Laser cladding is the solution for repairing worn steel surfaces or adding surface materials to steel products. This method uses a high-intensity laser beam to melt powdered metal materials onto a substrate. Another technique is hot wire laser cladding, which involves using a MIG welding unit to preheat the welding wire through resistive heating. Afterward, the laser completes the melting process.

Laser additive technology provides several advantages, including reduced heat input, lower dilution, near-net shape deposits, and faster processing times than traditional welding methods. Furthermore, it is a highly automated process that guarantees consistent, high-quality results.

The results are significant. Laser additive repaired track frogs outlast traditionally fixed frogs by 10X to 20X. In addition, the laser-clad repaired frogs’ lifetimes are even surpassing new frogs. This is a game changer in the industry which will save a significant amount of money and improve the supply chain for the USA.

Titanova: Your Trusted Partner for Manganese Steel Repairs

If you’re struggling to repair high manganese steel components, Titanova is here to help! With our extensive experience in Hatfield high manganese steels, we are the ideal partner for repairing components made from these materials. Our laser cladding services are designed to help you overcome these challenges and achieve high-quality results. We guarantee superior solutions for improving manganese steel.

Contact us today to learn more about how our laser additive cladding services can help you!

Laser Additive Remanufacturing

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Click to ExpandLaser Additive Remanufacturing

Laser additive remanufacturing, also called laser cladding, is a cutting-edge technology that uses a laser to deposit material onto a component. It restores the component to its original condition or even with proper selection of metal to be laser clad, it can improve it. The process entails adding the metal layer by layer to an existing three-dimensional part.

Unlike traditional manufacturing and repair techniques, laser cladding is a highly precise method for restoring or improving the function of components. This article will delve into the basics of laser additive remanufacturing, including its process and applications.

How Laser Additive Remanufacturing Works

The remanufacturing process begins with preparing the component’s surface and removing defects. A laser beam is used as the welding heat source, adding metal and fusing it to the component’s exterior. The laser beam is accurately robotically controlled, allowing for extremely precise addition of weld metal both in thickness and location enabling minimal heat-affected zones.

The type of material that is used in the process depends on the application and the requirements of the component being repaired. Typically, a powdered metal or wire is used, melting and fusing onto the surface to create a new material layer. Depending on the metal clad, this process can be repeated multiple times to build up several layers, allowing for the repair of larger or more extremely worn parts.

Applications of Laser Additive Remanufacturing

Laser additive remanufacturing is a highly versatile technology with wide-ranging applications across diverse industries. It can repair and restore a wide range of industrial components, including those used in the mining, energy, aerospace, automotive, heavy equipment, manufacturing, and energy sectors. Here are some of the most significant uses and applications of this technique:

Motors and Generators

Motors and generators are critical components in various applications, including energy generation, industrial machinery, marine and aerospace systems. One of the benefits of this technology is that it can be used to restore surfaces subjected to wear. It also allows for precise control over the material deposition, repairing worn areas and adding material for improved performance.

Moreover, large generators and motors are susceptible to failure mechanisms, particularly the bearing journals. Rebuilding the journals can be expensive, but laser cladding offers a highly precise, low-heat, and cost-effective solution to this problem.

Wind Turbine Components Main Shafts, Bearing Retainers, Gear-boxes

Wind turbines are a key renewable energy provider, but their main shafts are prone to wear or damage during bearing failures over time. Laser additive remanufacturing can add material to the shaft without compromising its strength and durability.

The technology offers several advantages over traditional repair and maintenance, such as thermal spray methods for wind turbine main shafts and cast iron bearing retainers. The laser clad is a welded bond so no risk of spallation of the thermal spray coating. In addition, Titanova is offering the only laser additive repair of wind turbine cast iron components such as bearing retainers and gearbox bearing retaining bores.

Mill Rolls

Laser additive remanufacturing is a precise and cost-effective solution for restoring and laser hard facing rolling mills that are common in the steel, aluminum, copper and similar industrial plants.

Heavy Equipment Parts and Components

Laser Additive remanufacturing is having a large impact on the recovery of heavy equipment parts and components. Titanova’s advanced laser cladding technology can enable the recovery of virtually all metal components found in heavy equipment including engine components, including cast iron components.

Choose Titanova for High-Quality Laser Cladding Solutions

With years of industry experience in laser cladding, Titanova has developed proprietary methods to repair all steel, stainless steel, and cast iron components. Our process produces a metallurgically bonded layer that is highly resistant to wear and corrosion, boosting the durability and lifespan of your parts.

We aim to provide services and products of the highest quality by exceeding your expectations! Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can assist you with your project.