6 December 2016


VCST turns to 3D printing of gears through laser cladding for the development of automotive gearbox prototypes

During the development of new concepts of automotive gear boxes, time-to-market crucial. Therefore VCST in Sint Truiden turns to 3D printing, also through laser cladding. The gears laser cladded by LCV exhibit proven performance under dynamic load.

3D printing gears through laser cladding

VCST is a global supplier of precision powertrain and brake components for automotive OEMs en Tier 1 suppliers. The company has more than 1000 employees in six countries worldwide. The VCST site in Sint-Truiden came in contact with LCV from Opglabbeek to manufacture gears for prototypes of automotive gearboxes.

De functional requirements of prototype manufacturing are strength, fatigue and last but not least cost. Laser cladding is on the rise for wear protection and repair, but the technology also lends itself to 3D printing.

For the development, LCV delivered AE10424 gears on a cylindrical substrate, post-processed using milling. In addition, graded materials of a wear-resistant X42Cr13 on a tough CrMo alloy are also printed.

Tested on contact wear & fatigue

The laser built single-material parts are tested on contact wear (25 million cycles at 1200 MPa) and fatigue (1 million cycles at 650 MPa). The advantages of 3D printing through laser cladding are primarily mechanical integrity.

In addition, LCV prints parts with dimensions up to 3 meters at high build rates, which makes laser cladding a valid alternative for manufacturing metallic prototypes.

3D printing of gears through laser cladding for the development of concepts of automotive gear boxes


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