Consortium aims to improve deposition rates and build efficiency in wire-based DED

September 30, 2022

Aluminium nose cone 3D printed by WAAM3D for ARA, one of the tens of demonstrators WAAM3D has delivered over the years (Courtesy WAAM3D)
Aluminium nose cone additively manufactured by WAAM3D for ARA, one of the tens of demonstrators WAAM3D has delivered over the years (Courtesy WAAM3D)

A new UK and European consortium is developing two Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (a Directed Energy Deposition process) variants to achieve improvements in deposition rates and build efficiency. The project, known as LAMM, brings together WAAM3D, Milton Keynes, UK; Guaranteed BV, Zelzate, Belgium; Fan 3D, Porto Salvo, Portugal; and the Laboratory For Manufacturing Systems & Automation (LMS) at the University of Patras, Greece.

LAMM was established in January 2022 and has, thus far, received €428,000 of funding from EIT Manufacturing, which was established in 2019 in an effort to support Europe’s manufacturing sector in becoming more competitive and sustainable. LAMM hopes to more than double what is currently possible with Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) processes; the project is expected to complete the industrialisation of two kinds of End-Effectors, tailored for the deposition of Ti64 and steel. It also intends to establish a set of software tools to optimise process parameters of path planning and modify existing Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) tools to accommodate novel deposition approaches.

WAAM3D is tasked with the design, building and testing of two new end-effectors, demonstrating the viability of high build rates on several demonstrator parts and to adapt their proprietary software to these new capabilities. Fan 3D and Guaranteed will upgrade their existing Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing kit with the new hardware and software, and to demonstrate successful technology transfer. LMS, meanwhile, aims to advance modelling and simulation tools optimising tool paths and process parameters.

A spokesperson for the consortium stated, “This project is an exciting opportunity to complete challenging high TRL industrialisation after years of internal R&D. The critical funding provided by EITM reflects the credibility of the project’s ambition and the timely need for the improvements sought. 3D printing has already proven numerous benefits over traditional processes in terms of speed, design, sustainability and cost, but at 15 kg/h we can explore even wider horizons.”

WAAM3D is currently undergoing testing of the new hardware prior to its delivery to Guaranteed and Fan 3D. Demonstrator parts are expected to be built next, with the project expected to close within budget and on time in December 2022.

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