Diode Lasers Improve Coatings and JointsBy Pedro Alcalá | Fri, 10/23/2020 - 12:06
Q: How would you describe the current distribution of your portfolio in Mexico?
A: Today our diode laser systems are present in the production lines of major automotive manufacturers and suppliers. Laserline diode lasers are used for a wide range of applications; for example, brazing and welding of car body components or hardening and coating of transmission components. We are also involved in welding applications and metal processing in various industrial segments.
Q: What portfolio plans do you have for the Mexican oil and gas industry?
A: In principle, all applications in the automotive industry and other areas in which we are represented in Mexico are also of interest to the oil and gas industry, including coating, welding, brazing and hardening. In addition, there are applications with which we are firmly established in other countries, such as coating applications or the processing of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). In many of these areas, diode laser-based applications are superior to the competition We must also consider material efficiency, process speed and the quality of the applications we provide. We want to raise awareness of this and show the advantages of the lifetime of our systems, as well as communicate to our potential customers the advantages of our diode lasers. It is also important to highlight technology partnerships with suppliers in the oil and gas industry.
Q: What would you describe are the most important applications of your products and services in the global oil and gas context?
A: Key applications would be cladding of stabilizers, drill bits and deep drilling equipment. Anyone who wants to develop oil or gas fields depends on their high-performance drills being able to withstand the enormous stresses and strains that take place over the long term. Therefore, special wear protection coatings have become standard. In this context, laser technology is becoming increasingly important. Laser technology can also be used for hardening drill bits or other applications, such as the realization of anti-corrosive internal coatings of oil and gas tanks. Another application is in the production of pipeline pipes, which employs tape winding fiber-reinforced plastics using diode lasers as a heat source. There is a broad spectrum of possible applications.
Q: How do your products and services contribute to Mexico's oil and gas industry?
A: Almost all applications in the oil and gas industry are considered harsh environment applications and all component designs and coatings must meet these requirements. Wear-resistant coatings on drill heads, for example, must be hard and adhere very well, they should not be too thick and should not have pores or cracks. At the same time, they must be applied precisely and without critical deformation of the drilling tools and should not require any reworking to be economically efficient. All of this is achieved with Laserline diode lasers. Laser metal deposition based on diode lasers is considered the most precise of all coating methods, and it offers the advantage of a smaller heat-affected zone and less dilution of base and coating material compared to conventional hard armoring processes, such as plasma powder deposition welding (PTA). The deposition rate is comparable and the application remains metallurgically dense, with excellent adhesion to the substrate. The service life alone is, therefore, considerably longer than you can achieve with PTA coatings.
Diode lasers are similarly superior for internal coatings of oil or gas tanks. Such coatings must have long-term stability and not have pores and cracks to guarantee the necessary safety anti-corrosion coatings, which are done by laser-based powder cladding and provide maximum density and a long service life. Competing coating techniques such as thermal spraying produce significantly worse results.
The oil and gas industry is of course always keen to reduce the weight of offshore components, whether on drilling platforms, ships or pipeline routes. Tubes or tanks made of CFRP using diode lasers fulfil exactly this requirement. So here too, diode lasers make a decisive contribution.
Q: How can your products and services contribute to improving the standards of construction and the quality of infrastructural development?
A: We specialize in Laserline diode lasers, better coatings, claddings and joints. The results are more robust and durable drilling tools, more stable and safer containers and lighter-weight constructions. In order to be allowed to carry out laser coatings on tools and container surfaces in the oil and gas industry, the corresponding suppliers must also provide proof of certification. In many countries and regions, such as the US, Southeast Asia, China, Japan and Europe, suppliers use Laserline diode lasers because they are qualified to use them and have made certification possible. In general, wherever thin or crack-free base, buffer or top layers are required in the oil and gas market, Laserline diode lasers with their wide process window are the No. 1 tool.
Q: What are your latest technologies and cutting-edge developments that could be relevant to Mexico’s oil and gas industry?
A: One example is the relatively new high-speed powder coating process. It enables the faster realization of large-area coatings and a more economical process control. It can also replace galvanic coating processes such as hard chrome plating. This makes it particularly interesting for the realization of wear protection coatings for drilling tools. Another particularly exciting field of application for Laserline diode lasers is the tapewinding of offshore pipes made of fiber composite materials. Here, feed speeds of several meters per minute are possible with the aid of a customer-specific homogenization optic, which is integrated into the head of a tape laying robot.
Q: What are the most important aspects of your development strategy?
A: The fact that we have concentrated on the Mexican automotive industry in recent years and have systematically gained a foothold there has proven to be an advantage regarding other branches of industry. After all, we have created the infrastructural requirements to serve the oil and gas industry. We have technical sales reps and service technicians, and we have acquired the necessary background knowledge about Mexico and its economic situation. This enables us to adapt optimally to all customer demands and we are confident of implementing applications we are familiar with in other industrial sectors in Mexico and Latin America. We have mastered the laser technology solutions we have offered for many years.
Laserline is a leading manufacturer of high-power diode lasers established in Germany in 1997. Its International presence extends into key sectors of the Mexican economy.