Process stabilization through pulsed laser-induced melt pool shaping in dual-beam LMD
Laser Metal Deposition (LMD) is an additive manufacturing process that reaches high deposition rates. Its applications are mainly found in repair, cladding and manufacturing. The two commonly used LMD processes are powder-based (LMD-p) and wire-based (LMD-w). Despite the fact that wire-based LMD uses material more efficiently, its process stability is a major concern. One approach to increase the process stability is superposing a pulsed laser (pw) beam with the conventionally used continuous laser (cw). Previous studies have shown that the metal vapor caused by pulsed laser-induced evaporation in the process zone significantly improves energy absorption. Furthermore, a direct relation between vapor pressure and melt pool form has been demonstrated. In this contribution, we correlate the pw-controlled melt pool geometry to process stability. High-speed camera imaging is employed to evaluate the dynamic melt pool behavior as a function of pw frequency and power. It is shown that irregular melt pool oscillations impairing process stability in conventional LMD-w are reduced if the pulsed laser is added. The melt front is shaped depending on the acting pw-induced pressure. This leads to a more stable interaction between wire and melt pool. Furthermore, the pw pressure changes the welding bead height and width. This cross-sectional geometry has an impact on the resulting waviness in 3D build-up. We also investigate how the waviness influences process stability during multilayer LMD-w. The results demonstrate that the dual beam technology is a promising way to develop more reliable and resource-efficient AM processes.