Lightweight components made of magnesium and other metals are often sensitive to corrosion and early wear. Researchers at ELB (Eloxalwerk Ludwigsburg Helmut Zerrer GmbH) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have now succeeded in coating such parts using laser technology with the high-performance plastic PEEK ( polyether ether ketone ). It is even possible to deliberately coat only certain areas of the surface which are exposed to particularly heavy stress. Possible areas of application include moving parts in engines, transmissions or bearings according to the developers. The procedure that ELB presented at the Hannover Messe 2018 , has already proven itself. Friction and wear could be reduced to such an extent that the life of the component will be increased by a factor of up one hundred.
The PEEK is first applied along with additives to the component by means of a precision application as part of the process. Subsequently, a twin-beam laser is used, which melts the plastic specifically at the most critical points. The result is an extremely thin high-performance polymer surface that protects the metal part from wear and corrosion.