The ASTM has designated two process categories for metal additive manufacturing (AM), directed energy deposition (DED) and powder bed fusion. DED processes build shapes bead by bead, layer by layer, using robotic or CNC systems via computer-aided modeling (CAM) software with either wire, powder, or some combination of these consumables. There are multiple processes used in DED systems including electron beam, laser, gas metal arc, gas tungsten arc, and plasma arc. Robotic DED offers more flexibility, range in motion, and maximum build volume for large structures or adding features to existing components.
Arc welding is a well-established joining process. Robotic arc CAM supports agile welding, cladding, and DED to create large AM components using digital manufacturing. It can also be used to enable additive manufacturing of features onto existing structures, such as castings, forgings, plate, and pipe. This, in turn, provides a wide range of benefits for optimizing design, small batch manufacturing, shortened lead times, decreased factory footprints, reduced material usage, and improved properties over castings.
EWI has developed expertise in the following areas: digital
data workflow (DDW), basic and advanced robotic DED AM, parametric models for
process-consumable combinations, process-feature-property models, and
representative qualifications for components. These capabilities enable EWI to develop
sound AM components ensuring a quality first approach. Components then can be
produced to near net shape like the propeller blade shown to the right.
In addition to the competencies above, EWI provides solutions that range from supporting concept component design through optimization for manufacturing and demonstration-validation testing into low-rate production. EWI has a diverse array of DED systems, unique expertise in metal DED (arc, laser, electron beam) processes, and pathways for qualification of the additive manufacturing structures and parts. For robotic DED systems, EWI has multiple test beds, including Yaskawa Motoman, OTC DAIHEN, CLOOS, FANUC, and ABB. This allows the component to be prototyped on system platforms that will be used in production making a transition from prototype to production simpler.
To learn more about EWI’s work on arc DED additively manufactured components, contact Michael Carney, Applications Engineer, at [email protected].