Flame Spray vs. Laser Cladding Case Study.
For decades, thermal spray (also referred to as flame spray) was considered the best way to prolong the life of high-wear components. Kondex utilized this technology for approximately 10 years, and became the premier provider for thermal spray applications. While it offered many benefits, thermal spray also came with limitations – costly set-ups, multi-stage processes, little application flexibility, risk of heat distortion, and susceptibility to chipping due to its mechanical bond properties. As Kondex grew its name as a flame spray provider, it continued to explore additional means to combat product wear and learned of laser cladding technologies.
The company began laser cladding trials and exploration in 2009, and quickly saw the potential of this cutting-edge technology. With a metallurgical bond and capability to enhance components to isolated areas, product design opportunities were now significantly broadened. The design teams buzzed as field tests came back showing 10% or more product life than that of flame spray, and a wave of innovation ensued. Between its demand from customers and the continued desire to explore new product applications, Kondex’s laser technology cell was running around the clock.
In 2015, Kondex began a pivotal move to transition all thermal spray operations to its more advanced and innovative laser enhanced processes. This drove large capital investments in expanding its laser technology capacity, offerings, and operators. The company’s laser additive demand continues to grow due to its preferred qualities, exceptional outcomes, and added value.
“We made a stand in our industry and tied our future to what we believe, and have demonstrated to be, a far superior process,” said Kondex Executive Vice President Keith Johnson. “While we’ve had others try to follow our laser technology lead, our resume, knowledge, experience, and continued exploration far exceeds that of our competition.”