MELD achieves Additive Manufacturing of large parts using ‘off-the-shelf’ Al 6061

April 18, 2020

Large scale components additively manufactured from aluminium 6061 using the MELD process (Courtesy MELD Manufacturing Corporation)

MELD Manufacturing Corporation, Christiansburg, Virginia, USA, reports that is has reached “a milestone for large part manufacturing” with the Additive Manufacturing of components larger than of 1.4 m in diameter using ‘off-the-shelf’ aluminium 6061. MELD® is a patented friction welding process used for the building and repair of metal components using off-the-shelf material. The MELD process does not involve melting and is capable of Additive Manufacturing fully dense parts. 

According to MELD, the 1.4 m components have solid walls, some of which are more than 100 mm thick; the size of these components represents the advantages that the open-air machine offers in scalability. The use of aluminium 6061 is notable because, despite its widespread utilisation in industry, it is so far incompatible with other metal AM technologies. Using MELD technology, the metal Additive Manufacturing of large Al 6061 structures typically produced using forging can now be additively manufactured on demand.  

Dr Chase Cox, Director of Technology, MELD Manufacturing Corporation, explained that a reduction in domestic mills and forges has created more demand than foreign capacity can supply, and the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) has exacerbated delays globally. 

“Prior to the pandemic our customer told us that these parts, printed in a few days at MELD, would have taken them up to two years to get from their supply chain,” he stated. “This global economic shutdown likely added six months or more to that two-year lead time estimate. MELD represents an opportunity to re-establish domestic manufacturing capability at a critical time.”

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

Download PDF

Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Metal powders in Additive Manufacturing: An exploration of sustainable production, usage and recycling
  • Inside Wayland Additive: How innovation in electron beam PBF is opening new markets for AM
  • An end-to-end production case study: Leveraging data-driven machine learning and autonomous process control in AM
  • Consolidation, competition, and the cost of certification: Insight from New York’s AM Strategies 2024
  • Scandium’s impact on the Additive Manufacturing of aluminium alloys
  • AM for medical implants: An analysis of the impact of powder reuse in Powder Bed Fusion

The world of metal AM to your inbox

Don't miss any new issue of Metal AM magazine, and get the latest industry news. Sign up to our twice weekly newsletter.

Sign up

Discover our magazine archive…

The free to access Metal Additive Manufacturing magazine archive offers unparalleled insight into the world of metal Additive Manufacturing from a commercial and technological perspective through:

  • Reports on visits to leading metal AM part manufacturers and industry suppliers
  • Articles on technology and application trends
  • Information on materials developments
  • Reviews of key technical presentations from the international conference circuit
  • International industry news

All past issues are available to download as free PDFs or view in your browser.

Browse the archive

Looking for AM machines, metal powders or part manufacturing services?

Discover suppliers of these and more in our comprehensive advertisers’ index and buyer’s guide, available in the back of Metal AM magazine.

  • AM machines
  • Process monitoring & calibration
  • Heat treatment & sintering
  • HIP systems & services
  • Pre- & post-processing technology
  • Powders, powder production and analysis
  • Part manufacturers
  • Consulting, training & market data
View online
Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap