For decades, engineers have used polymer-based additive manufacturing (AM) to construct small- and medium-sized components. However, in recent years, metal-based AM has risen to the forefront, especially for serial production. Metal-based AM is now used to produce parts for the most demanding of applications, such as propulsion systems for the aerospace industry.
A wide range of metal AM technologies is currently available, with each process offering distinct advantages and drawbacks depending on its respective service applications. For example, powder bed fusion (PBF) techniques can produce smaller but higher resolution prints. However, PBF is generally known to be more costly due to lower powder feedstock utilisation efficiency. WAAM®, on the other hand, is a less costly technique used to produce larger components and parts with simpler shapes or geometries. Each technology has a place in its respective manufacturing sub-domain.
In WAAM®, an electric arc is used to melt a wire feedstock onto a metal base plate. The wire is melted in a sequence of bead strings, which are deposited layer upon layer as the robotic head automatically moves the printing head backwards and forwards in a pre-programmed pattern.
The WAAM® process offers many advantages for engineers looking for new and innovative ways of manufacturing large parts and structures reliably in a short timeframe.
Some key benefits of our WAAM® technology include:
- Cost reduction: With the substitution of forging tooling and casting dies, overall manufacturing costs are lowered.
- Better material efficiency: The WAAM® process creates near-net shape components that require minimal finishing, hence minimising any wastage of raw materials.
- Shorter lead times: Companies can expect to significantly reduce production cycles from months to a few weeks.
The latest and most advanced WAAM® production systems will enable manufacturers to realise these advantages. Companies looking to produce large industrial components with WAAM® can consider one of two approaches — engage an AM provider for production support, or purchase their own integrated system that comes with installation, maintenance, and training services.
Ready to take the next step in your manufacturing journey? Contact our team now.