10 Industrial Laser Solutions MAY/JUNE 2017
own multi-axis workpiece positioning system, with capacities for
up to 20-ton components (FRONTIS, PAGE 8) with a swing up to
2 and 9m in length.
Executive director Wayne Hooper describes the proprietary powder injection nozzle system: “Cladding large mining industry components requires extended running times at high power levels, with
some projects running 16 hours at maximum power. This requirement led us into developing our own water-cooled, off-axis powder injection nozzle. This incorporates a rapidly replaceable powder injection tube and gas depressurized gravity-fed powder mixer.
The geometry of the part being processed determines parameter
settings for the nozzle. This led us to invest in our own control system development.”
LaserBond has been awarded a $2.6 million government grant for
wear-life extension via surface-engineered laser cladding for mining
projects. The LaserBond-led project, which involves UniSA and global
drilling equipment manufacturer Boart Longyear as project partners,
received funding to support the three-year collaboration associated
with the material science and use of its technologies to improve a
spectrum of wear points, many associated with drilling for mining.
Coincidentally, LaserBond and Boart Longyear recently signed
a non-binding strategic partnership to pursue mutually benefi-
cial commercial products and services. UniSA and LaserBond
already have a collaborative R&D agreement for development of
technology, systems, processes, and applications associated with
wear-resistant, surface-engineered cladding for resource, agricul-
tural, and other heavy industries.
LaserBond has signed a technology licensing contract with a large
minerals-processing equipment manufacturing and repair company
in Asia, which initially involves design, building, installation, and com-
missioning of a laser cladding cell tailored to the company’s specific
applications. “We have chosen a company that has demonstrated
ability to partner with international technology companies, and which
has a large presence in its mining equipment market,” Wayne Hooper
says. “The contract demonstrates the significant value in the tech-
nology and intellectual property that LaserBond has developed. We
are aiming to make this agreement the first of many.”
As mentioned above, LaserBond’s new DTH Hammer lasted
more than three times longer than the industry standards that it
was competing with at a comparative trial in Southern Australia.
Under sole control of Brisbane-based mining consultancy Xtega
Pty Ltd., this independent comparative trial was held at a hard-
rock metalliferous mine, selected for its highly abrasive rock with
an indicated megapascal (MPa) between 90 and 200. “There is an
irrefutable decrease in the rate of abrasive wear, which results in a
305% increase in the life of the LaserBond hammer,” Xtega con-
cludes. Other benefits included improved mechanical availability
and efficiency; higher impact and penetration rates; improved site
and operator safety; and less downtime for changeouts, along with
significant 7.5% cost savings.
An underground coal shearer reports 10X longer wear-life with
LaserBond’s laser cladding technology added to an off the shelf
component. “Without our attention, these units only last 40–60
hours of operation before the hard rock inclusions wear through
into the water cooling system and render the unit useless. Now,
our customer is looking to save millions,” Greg Hooper explains,
after inspecting onsite performance.
What the future holds
In 2016, LaserBond experienced commercial success, including
240% growth in export sales from its development of new products and customers, both domestic and international. Morton
says the company was on track for a forecasted 30% growth in
2017 and, in coming years with investment in its next-generation
advanced laser cladding technology cell, will open more doors to
OEM customers with greater cladding performance demands on
“There’s no absolute on the future—you just position yourself
as best you can until you get there,” Morton says. “Our strategic
international relationships are growing on the supplier side and
customer side. We are delivering for companies who are seek-
ing high-performance wear resistance in particularly tough situa-
tions. LaserBond excels when working in strategic partnerships.
As an example, we designed a machine tailored for an interna-
tional company that makes a 10-ton crusher roller, which allows
them to refurbish it.” ✺
ALLAN MOR TON ( email@example.com) is the chairman of LaserBond, Smeaton
Grange, NSW, Australia; www.laserbond.com.au.