FasTech, based in Danville, Virginia, USA, is partnering with Cleveland State University (CSU) in Ohio, USA, to explore the potential of Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) technology for manufacturing forging preforms. The university’s Dr Tushar Borkar was recently awarded a grant from the Forging Industry Education and Research Foundation (FIERF) to investigate the use of Additive Manufacturing processes, with the aim of reducing cycle times in forging operations.
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CSU intends to study the effect of processing parameters on the microstructure and mechanical behaviour of 316 stainless steel parts fabricated via different processes, including WAAM, followed by forging. The controlled deformation of the forging process reportedly enhances the mechanical performance of the printed parts by adding directional properties for strength, ductility, and resistance to impact and fatigue that wouldn’t be possible with Additive Manufacturing alone. These results will then be compared with other post-processing methods such as vacuum hot press and Spark Plasma Sintering.
Fastech’s WAAM machine can additively manufacture small- to large-scale components in steel, titanium, nickel, and aluminium alloys with typical deposition rates of 5 kg/h in both 3-and 5-axis configurations using feedback controls. Fastech and CSU intend to apply this technology and expand their partnership to manufacture other alloys for the forging industry, again with the aim of minimising cycle time.