Lab rod capabilities implemented in dedicated projects

New steel grades or new applications making use of additive manufacturing may require new solutions for welding wire.

Users of rod products are often restricted to commercial grades and volumes for new product developments. R&D work typically requires only a limited amount per type to screen wires with optimised and tailored chemistry, microstructure or surface. Having the lab capacity for producing “customised” lab wire can as such avoid the need of ordering commercial amounts for R&D purposes. At the same time, customers can have an interest to have access to tailored wire types.

Extended bar rolling capabilities

OCAS adapted one of its lab rolling mills to be able to switch to “bar mode”. Straight round bars of 5.5 mm diameter with good ovality and up to 2.5 m length can be obtained. The lab bar rolling is compatible with OCAS’s lab casting tools. As such, the composition of the bars can be tailored to the client’s needs. Over the past years, new changes have been implemented to our lab set-up extending our capabilities to the rolling of bars of hard materials. Today, these changes allow us to process these alloys as well.

Depending on the application, the wire rods can be further cold drawn and coated. By welding and subsequent drawing, coils of 1.2 mm wire with a total length exceeding 200 m have already been achieved. This capability has been valorised in a dedicated customer project where a new welding wire composition was developed. To confirm the validity of the results, reference welds with different heat inputs were made using a commercial welding wire. These were then benchmarked to a lab developed wire with identical composition. All mechanical tests on strength and toughness indicated similar trends for the lab and commercial wire. Similar projects are ongoing for wire additive manufacturing and thermal spraying applications.

Next to steel, also non-ferrous alloys have been rolled to round bars of 5.5 mm diameter without issues. This might be of interest especially for small quantities of feedstock for additive manufacturing or wire for thermal spray.

“Having this flexible lab capacity for producing customised lab wire, now with our extended offer in optimised and tailored compositions, we can offer our customers access to a wide range of bar or wire rod in small quantities to boost their new developments”

Michal Mroz, Research Engineer Metallurgy, OCAS
Özlem Esma Ayas Güngör, Senior Research Engineer Welding, Applications & Solutions department, OCAS
Elke Leunis, Senior Researcher Metallurgy, OCAS