Custom-configured and designed, this DED system features the most advanced, state-of-the-art capabilities for high-deposition rate additive manufacturing. A six degree-of-freedom articulated robot and two-axis rotary positioner synchronously locate the processing head and workpiece for deposition. The system can accommodate large structures fitting within a 2m x 3m x 3.5m envelope and can also produce a wide variety of complex geometries given the robotic configuration’s positioning flexibility. Up to 12 kW of laser power is directed through a water-cooled two-axis beam scanning process head for programmable energy distribution. Wire or powder feedstock can be used for fabrication with deposition rates in excess of 10 kg/hr. The integrated wire-based system includes hot-wire capabilities for wire pre-heating. By combining the most advanced processing capabilities into one integrated platform, this system represents the next generation of large, rapid additive manufacturing.
A new wire arc additive manufacturing system (WAAM) from ABB Inc. was also recently installed at the Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State. WAAM may not be well known within the additive manufacturing industry, but it holds one of the biggest potentials for large-scale 3D printing where components are measured not by centimeters but by meters. WAAM builds components by melting a wire forming weld beads onto a substrate using an electric arc heat source. A robotic arm controls the process and, much like most AM processes, the WAAM process builds components layer by layer until the component is completed. Unlike more traditional AM processes, such as powder bed fusion processes, there is no limit to the build envelope, allowing for the production of very large components. This system will further complement the laser based large-scale robotic AM system already located within The Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State. Both systems have their own unique benefits for tackling large scale AM: a laser heat source allows for better melt pool control and opens the ability to use both wire and powder feedstocks while an electric arc heat source offers fast and consistent metal deposition.
Multiple powder-feed capabilities for deposition and full consolidation of complex components within a controlled inert gas environment. This system provides a working envelope of 30 cm length by 30 cm width by 15 cm height. The Optomec system is capable of near-net fabrication of components and requires final machining. Although the system is capable of producing parts having complex geometries, it cannot produce geometries having significant projection or overhang without support.
Utilizing 3rd-generation AeroMet high-deposition capabilities, our first in-house built DED system is capable of larger build volumes. This High-Power High-Deposition (HPHD) system utilizes a laser with power levels up to 12 kW in a customizable build volume. Rectilinear builds can reach 100cm x 30cm x 45 cm and cylindrical builds can reach 60cm in diameter and 30 cm high. A custom cladding head with water-cooled optics and an inert gas enclusure make this a truly powerful system.