SBI International, Hollabrunn, Austria, has introduced a new Wire-Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) machine aimed at the series production of metal parts. Founded in 1999 with the aim of maturing what were then known as rapid prototyping technologies, SBI has over the past two decades established its plasma technologies globally.
The company began developing its own metal AM machines in 2016, and now reports that it is ready to bring its first machine, the M3DP, to the market. Because the machine uses a focused plasma arc independent from the wire feedstock, SBI stated that the plasma arc can be used for both Additive Manufacturing and heating throughout the build process.
On its launch, the list of materials compatible with the M3DP includes aluminium, titanium, mild steel, stainless steel, nickel-based alloys and copper. When additively manufacturing components in steel, the machine is said to be capable of achieving deposition rates of up to 10 kg/hour. Parts are produced to near-net shape and require some machining to bring them into the required dimensions, but SBI stated that this process remains cheaper than machining the part from a solid block or billet.
During Additive Manufacturing on the M3DP system, the process is video logged, with timestamps, and linked to relevant parameters including the welding current, wire feed speed and travelling speed, to enable post-process analysis and optimisation of future builds. After each layer of the part is built, a 3D scan is conducted to guarantee that the built shape fulfils the part’s geometric requirements, and further matched with the CAD file for conformity to the model. This makes it possible to achieve adaptive control of the build process.
Where working with sensitive materials such as titanium and nickel-based alloys, the M3DP can be optionally enclosed by a gas tight cover, enabling the creation of an inert gas atmosphere with less than 15 ppm oxygen and 30 ppm moisture. According to SBI International, the main fields of application for the M3DP will be aerospace, tooling, oil & gas, naval architecture, mechanical engineering and automotive.