Wire & Arc (WAAM) Additive Manufacturing Programme
(Images Courtesy of Cranfield University)
The manufacture of titanium parts for the aerospace industry using wire deposition additive manufacturing techniques.
Additive manufacturing is basically a single hot point, mould free casting process for aluminium, steel, titanium etc. The aim of the WAAM programme is to develop a commercial system where a plate and wire go into a cell to produce a finished, machined component to aerospace specification. This is real 3d printing!
Higher value titanium parts are the primary focus due to the difficulties of achieving a near net shape by casting and the long lead time for forgings. The WAAM process gives the possibility of producing near net shape titanium parts to aerospace specifications …in-house.
Once again, PWP Industrial’s skill in providing innovative plasma torch solutions is being utilised in this programme. All the titanium parts shown in the slider above were made using PWP’s Viper MC plasma torch where it has proved its toughness and reliability in very long duty cycles and ease of consumable changing.
The results of the WAAM programme have been quite stunning:
- Images 1 & 2: Titanium 6Al4V; Size: 600mm x 600mm; Weight: 24kg; Torch: PWP Viper MC Plasma torch; Deposition Rate: 1.6kg/hr; Wire Dia: 1.2mm
- Images 3 & 4: Titanium 6Al4V; Size: 1200mm x 300mm; Weight: 24kg; Torch: PWP Viper MC Plasma torch; Deposition Rate: 1.6kg/hr; Wire Dia: 1.2mm
- Images 5 & 6: Titanium 6Al4V; Size: 750mm x 450mm; Weight: 50kg; Torch: PWP Viper MC Plasma torch; Deposition Rate: 1.6kg/hr; Wire Dia: 1.2mm
- Image 7: Titanium 6Al4V; Detail image
- images 8 Left Image: Aluminium; Size: 2500mm x 1200mm; Weight: 18kg; Torch: Fronius CMT;
- Deposition Rate: 2.5kg/hr; Wire Dia: 1.2mm
- Image 8 Right Image: High Strength Steel; Height: 1200mm; Weight: 30kg; Torch: Fronius CMT;
- Deposition Rate: 3.5kg/hr; Wire Dia: 1.2mm
PWP Industrial is currently developing a quick change plasma torch specifically for the WAAM Additive Manufacturing process.
The challenges are formidable:
- Duty cycles running for days not just hours
- Wire feeding that can continually rotate around the torch
- Precision positioning of wire into the weld pool at every orientation of the torch
- Integration onto a machine tool and robotic platforms
- Ease of remote maintenance in an inert gas chamber
- Developing a tool that is robust enough for commercial use