Additive Manufacturing machine maker Optomec announced at Formnext 2019, Frankfurt, Germany, November 19–22, that it has integrated the Huffman AutooCLAD vision system with its LENS Directed Energy Deposition (DED) machines. AutoCLAD is a vision and software system that generates a custom toolpath for each part prior to processing.
Proprietary to Huffman, the system has reportedly been used extensively in production by major manufacturers and servicers of aircraft engines and industrial gas turbines to restore worn or damaged components. Adding this capability to the LENS brand of solutions is expected to enable customers to use automated DED for the repair of reactive metals like titanium in a controlled, argon atmosphere.
It also brings the AutoCLAD technology to hybrid Additive Manufacturing; the combination of AM and machining capabilities in a single system. AutoCLAD images the part and then automatically adapts and modifies the toolpath and DED parameters for each individual part based on variations in orientation, dimension, and shape.
It not only adjusts the toolpath for variation, but it also adapts laser power to reduce the heat input into thinner areas, which drastically reduces the heat-affected zone (HAZ) of the finished part. Finally, by fine-tuning the toolpath for the individual part, a smaller overbuild is achieved which significantly reduces the final machining time after the additive manufacturing process.
“This latest enhancement combines three important technologies developed by Optomec into a single system,” stated Mike Dean, Marketing Director at Optomec. “Combining the capabilities of AutoCLAD with Optomec’s industry-leading controlled atmosphere technology and hybrid manufacturing solutions enables the processing of reactive metals without oxidation, and allows Additive Manufacturing and machining in a single system.”
“No other company has this combination, in fact, no one has software like AutoCLAD,” he continued. “We see this as a big win for customers who want to use DED for the repair of titanium components as well as anyone doing repetitive part repair in industries such as oil and gas, mining, and tool and die.”
The AutoCLAD system is available immediately as an upgrade for all Optomec LENS systems that use the Siemens 840D controller, which includes the LENS CS 600, CS 800, CS 1500, and MTS 860 machines.