By chance, Andy met Jason Barker, Chief Technical Officer at CNC Robotics, at a classic car show. “We started talking about Jason’s car and things developed from there,” remembered Andy. “I explained my idea for a robot-based laser deposition system to Jason and it soon became clear that he was the right man to make it all work.”
The main challenge for the system resulted from the variety and complexity of the shapes being processed at ASCO Engineering, since the laser has to be as near as possible to 90° to the surface of the part. This was overcome with a KUKA robot that includes very few restrictions on its range of movements.
Head of the Laser Department at ASCO, Andrew Mawsley worked with Jason and the CNC Robotics team to install and test the new process. “It seemed quite complicated at first but, once Jason had helped me to get used to the system, it became much easier, even for the more complex jobs,” he said. Andrew had a basic knowledge of C++ programming from his university course. He also uses Orange Editor software on a laptop to create programs for the robot. “Using the laptop, rather than the robot control, means that I can start one process running and begin programming the next job,” he explained.
While the new system has been used predominately for adding coatings to new parts, it has also proved valuable in component repair. For these projects, repair material is typically laid down in layers of up to 1 mm per pass and then ground back to give the final surface. Dependant on clients requirements ASCO are, in reality, able to clad to any thickness.