Ellimetal finds a hard case in LCV Stellites

Ellimetal – solution provider for industrial processes & storage – contracted LCV for laser cladding metal sections of a riser, Vapour line and air grid. Ellimetal opted for LCV laser cladding instead of hardfacing to take abrasive wear resistance to the next level. Robotised laser cladding efficiently applies the coating on the large curved metal parts. Ellimetal values the cladding process of LCV, which yields a 20% increase in stellite 6 hardness (up to 50 HRC). The lower dilution of the laser cladding technology leads to a thinner, yet more functional clad layer. The controlled melt process ensures higher uniformity, both visually as in thickness. Ellimetal collaborates with LCV to stretch the limits of laser cladding even further.

Laser cladding of riser, vapour line and air grid parts

Ellimetal is a prominent high-quality manufacturer of pressure vessels, silos and specialised process equipment. The engineering specialists determine the dimensions and the strength of the structures. They take into account the operational temperatures and pressures as well as wind forces. When working with processes that are subject to erosion, cobalt-based stellites are commonly used to reduce abrasive wear.

For an industrial refractory reactor project, Ellimetal asked LCV to perform laser cladding on metal parts facing abrasive wear (e.g. reactor riser, vapor line, air grid). A refractory setup keeps the metal parts processing the refractory away from the ultra high temperatures elsewhere in the reactor. The parts were brought to LCV where a laser cladding robot applied the abrasive wear resistant coating.

LCV’s laser cladding technology combines an optimum powder formula with dynamic melt pool control. As the robot head moves with uniform speed and standoff, laser cladding is continuously executed with a small melt pool that cools down fast. This result in much lower dilution, establishing the ultrafine LCV Stellite 6 coating microstructure with superior abrasive wear resistance.

Collaboration pushes capabilities further

Ellimetal recognises that the hardness of the Stellite 6 coating (50 HRC) compares favourably with conventional hardfacing (39 HRC). The comparison also shows that the cladded surface is much thinner and more uniform. This is no surprise because hardfacing is a semi-automatic process delivering a roughly 3 millimeter layer with dilution included.

Ellimetal is pleased with the collaboration with LCV. In an open communication, specific technical challenges (higher probability of micro cracks) are discussed and together new enhancements are executed and evaluated. Ellimetal concludes that laser cladding and hardfacing are comparable in service cost and duration, and sees potential in proposing laser cladding to its customers.

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