Wärtsilä’s new laser technology improves white metal applications across the industry

Adam Foster
Adam Foster

01 May 2018


Marine, hydro and industrial segments are constantly looking for innovations that make products more efficient, durable and environmentally sound. On the cutting edge of this trend is a new white metal laser technology developed by Wärtsilä, which significantly improves the mechanical and tribological properties of white metal applications across the industry.

The new white metal technology is suitable for many white metals as well as base metals, and unitary pieces with special geometries. This technology can be applied within the marine, industrial and hydro sectors. The performance and lifetime of, for example, bearings, thrust pads, gearboxes, stone crushers, grinders and mills can be significantly increased.

Lowering the chance of premature component failure and minimizing risks is on top of the industry sector’s agenda, as unplanned interruptions cost millions of dollars in lost revenue. There is also a growing aspiration for reducing the environmentally harmful chemical compounds and the carbon footprint of the component manufacturing and refurbishing processes.

Latest laser technology combined with robotics

Wärtsilä repairs and upgrades white metal bearings and pads for a vast range of industrial applications. During the recent years, Wärtsilä has conducted intensive research in applying white metal on a wide range of components including bearings.

The new white metal laser technology is performed using the latest laser technology in combination with a robotic arm. The process creates high speed depositions that, combined with an exclusive cooling system, produce a high quality, white metal finish. The result is a refined microstructure, completely free of inner defects.

The technology has been field-tested with white metal bearings for over two years with very good results in terms of durability and enhanced fatigue resistance.

“The material structure is much more compact, produced from layers of white metal, and can thus withstand much more stress. We have measured an up to 40% improvement in mechanical bonding and fatigue resistance compared to conventional casting procedure. The quality of the white metal layer and the life span of the product are greatly improved,” explains Jose Antonio Vazquez, technical manager of Wärtsilä Seals & Bearings.

Due to a reliable and extremely repeatable process, Vasquez sees wide business opportunities:

“My vision is that in the future our complete range of products will be manufactured using this technology, and that we can increasingly provide our offering for high responsibility areas, where control, reliability and repeatability of the process are key factors.”