Components exposed to high levels of stress – for example, the paddles of open-cast mining excavators or the drilling machines used to extract crude oil – require a protective coating of hard materials to avoid premature wear. The tungsten carbides used here are applied using hardfacing or deposition welding, which needs conventional welding technology equipment. In Germany alone, 300 tonnes of tungsten are required annually for thermal coating. However, this strategic material is only available in limited quantities and is therefore subject to strong price fluctuations.
The objective of the project “aha – hardfacing with alternative materials” is to develop a tungsten-free welding alloy based on cheaper and more readily available hard materials. The preceding project “SubsTungs” developed an alternative system of ceramic-based hard materials combined with an iron matrix.
The objective of the “aha” project is to bring this system, which has already been tested in the lab, to industrial maturity, by introducing interim layers to improve the incorporation of the ceramics, for instance. Furthermore, a particle accelerator has to be added to conventional deposition welding installations in order to be able to process lighter ceramics. As well as additional lab experiments to characterize the coating system precisely, a plant for industrial use will be constructed and tested.
As the project coordinator, DURUM Verschleißschutz is developing and producing the materials and creating a plasma powder welding process. Impuls Verschleißtechnik will produce a coating system for wire welding. The Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg provides theoretical and practical support.