The High Productivity Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (HPWAAM) Group – a business-led research consortium based in the UK – has announced it has successfully demonstrated significant advances in technical capability which are hoped will enable Additive Manufacturing to play a greater role in the future. The collaborative project, led by Weir Group with partners including BOC, a Linde company, WAAM3D, Foster + Partners, Steelo, Wintwire and Cranfield University, is reported to be on track to deliver its objectives by the end of 2023.
The HPWAAM project is reported to have exceeded key interim project objectives, showing increased steel deposition rates of 15 kg/h, up from a baseline of 3 kg/h, using a novel Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) process, a wire-based form of Directed Energy Deposition (DED). Applying new adaptive toolpath programming for different layer heights, has also unlocked the potential for greater scales and complexities, with the partners successfully demonstrating the manufacturing of a 150kg part using high-deposition rate and in-process cryogenic cooling.
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The project is scheduled to complete by the end of 2023, and this reported progress means that the consortium can now seek to industrialise HPWAAM for large-scale engineering components, featuring full thermal control and variable resolution.
“Partnerships such as HPWAAM offer us a significant opportunity to harness the distinct strengths of domain experts spanning academia and adjacent industries, and in this case we are pushing the boundaries of Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing together,” stated Alan Stewart, Weir Group Head of Innovation and Research. “It is clear from the progress to date that this consortium is able to meet the objectives for productivity, and in simple terms, developing this capability means that in the near future we will be able offer customers new Additive Manufacturing solutions that can significantly reduce engineering lead times, create less material waste, improve equipment performance, and use less energy in the production process.”
Filomeno Martina, CEO of WAAM3D and spokesperson for the consortium, added, “The HPWAAAM Group achieving these milestones reflects the hard work, technical ability, and innovative ethos from the consortium partners. In the next phase, we will leverage the combined capabilities of our partners towards developing an economically feasible way of printing large scale and complex designs at entirely new speeds. We are grateful for the critical funding provided by Innovate UK to pursue our ambition to create future value for our partners and wider UK industrial and commercial interests.”