ADDere, the Additive Manufacturing division of Midwest Engineered Systems Inc., headquartered in Waukesha, Wisconsin, USA, has used its Wire-laser Additive Manufacturing (WLAM) process to build a large-scale stainless steel turbine blade, produced by depositing 1,800 layers or 61 kg (135 lb) of material in just thirty hours. The turbine blade measures 1800 mm (5 ft 11 in) tall and 500 mm (20 in) wide, with 5 mm side walls and a hollow interior.
“While the complex shape was made in record time, the part is pretty spectacular in my opinion,” stated Scott Woida, ADDere President. ”The real story is being able to build such a large part on our system and stay so close to tolerances throughout the build is the most exciting aspect for us.“
ADDere’s proprietary closed-loop feedback system is said to have been instrumental in not only monitoring and maintaining the deposition quality in near real time, but also overseeing consistent dimensional accuracy during the application of the stainless steel material over the course of the build, while the ADDere WALS control software reportedly took into account the myriad of issues regarding the heating, cooling and flow of metal to mitigate internal stresses that could develop at the metallurgical level.
“It’s a very complex process. Being able to hold dimension across thirty hours of metal heating and cooling, expansion and contraction, is a testament to how much knowledge has gone into the development of the software and control systems of the ADDere systems,” commented Pete Gratschmayr, VP Sales & Marketing. “We’re excited to take on large challenges to prove the system further.”
ADDere’s WLAM system is specially developed for the AM of large scale, near-net shape parts in a variety of metals including titanium, Inconel, stainless steel and other superalloys, as well as most ferrous-based metals. The standard ADDere system features a build area of 2 m x 1 m x 1 m (79 in x 39 in x 39 in).
Aside from the AM of complete parts, the ADDere process can also be used to deposit new metal forms on components made through other processes, like casting, machining or forging. The firm’s material deposition process allows for the ability to not only make production runs with small part variations more economical but also allow for the repair of large metal components.