How the ADDere Large Scale Laser-Wire Additive Manufacturing Process Works
The ADDere large scale laser-wire additive manufacturing process prints casting grade metal parts layer-by-layer in three dimensions. The ADDere system is controlled by a suite of high-speed, real-time, closed-loop sensors and a purpose built control software built around an industrial robot’s movement system. As with more common 3D printers that work in thermoplastics, the ADDere system simply sources the part construction and design from standard 3D CAD drawings to produce the 3D print.
The demand for exotic superalloy metals have been rapidly growing in the Aerospace, Defense, Marine, Oil & Gas and Petrochemical industries. These exotic metals are inherently expensive and difficult to machine or cast on a large scale. However, with ADDere’s additive manufacturing process, individual parts can be manufactured faster and more cost effectively by eliminating material waste that would otherwise result from machining or casting.
The ADDere large scale laser-wire additive manufacturing process is built around three main components: the laser heat source, the material delivery system and the motion control system.
The Heat Source
The ADDere laser-wire system utilizes a precise application of intense heat by a 4-20kW diode laser at the point of delivery. The intensity and accuracy of the laser is continuously monitored and controlled, minimizing the amount of wear on the build. As the material delivery system feeds the metal wire to the point of delivery, the wire is electrically pre-heated and softened into a more malleable state. ADDere’s laser-wire system can function at room temperature and does not require a vacuum environment, however, some exotic metals do require an argon gas atmosphere to produce consistent builds.
The Material Delivery System
ADDere’s material delivery system uses a precisely controlled wire delivery system that has multiple wire drive units that work together, in a push-pull operation, to provide the correct amount of wire needed at the point of contact. Using a secondary laser, ADDere’s material delivery system tracks the progress of the build, and makes adjustments to the delivery of the material as needed. The ADDere additive manufacturing process builds up the components from interchangeable spools of metal wire. The metal wire can be of any weld-able form of metal, such as carbon steel, stainless steel, Inconel, Hastelloy, Invar, titanium and many more.
The Motion System
ADDere uses an industrial size 6-axis robot as the primary controller of the delivery system and is controlled by a real-time closed-loop process controller. The motion system utilizes an additional 2-axis coordinated motion workpiece positioner, which would allow for building more complex parts that have over-hanging features. A track or gantry system can also be used to print less complex parts, but on a much larger scale. These additional axis can be easily implemented into the robot controller to manipulate the substrate and increase the travel range of the robot.
The Process Control
ADDere’s process is completely controlled by ADDere’s closed-loop Wire Additive Laser Software. ADDere’s software controls the heat and material deposition, providing best in class metallurgical qualities that minimizes build distortion, porosity and impurities. Each 3D printed layer is recorded in real-time for sensory feedback and system build adjustments to ensure a consistent build. ADDere’s Wire Additive Laser Software brings a next-level of quality and consistency to 3D metal printing.
The ADDere large scale additive manufacturing systems have a build volume that starts at about 6 inches cubed and scales upwards to custom large scale productions. Builds typically have a build layer height at around 1-2mm, and a wall thickness starting at about 5mm. The three systems ADDere provides are:
The ADDere I System has a max build size of 40x40x40in (1x1x1m), which also includes a compact footprint and is built to be drop-in ready.
The ADDere II System has a max build size of 80x40x40in (2x1x1m) and uses a more powerful 20kW laser.
The ADDere III system is a production-ready customizable solution that can reach build volumes as large as 1575x310x75in (40x8x2m), with the use of a customized gantry or track system. The ADDere III systems have the flexibility to print on both sides of a substrate, and custom systems can be scaled up to produce even larger builds.
Can ADDere help your business
If ADDere’s high quality large scale metal additive manufacturing process sounds like something that your business has a need of, whether it’s in Aerospace, Defense, Oil & Gas or any other industry, contact us today. The ADDere large scale laser-wire additive manufacturing process can produce large scale builds in a wide range of sizes and materials to fit all your business’s needs.