lead time savings
“We now have a functional part that we can all be proud of and a better understanding of the advantages of the WAAM process.”
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WAAM – cost and lead time reductions
A variety of aerospace components are already benefitting from WAAM, including Ti–6Al–4V spars and landing gear assemblies, aluminium wing ribs, steel wind tunnel models and cones. This is because with WAAM it is possible to create large-scale, very near net shape preforms. Importantly, this is done without the need for complex tooling, moulds or dies and can lead to significant cost and lead time reductions for medium-to-large scale engineering components of medium complexity.
- Lead times for large forgings can be up to 14 months (with an additional 4 months for roughing and finishing),WAAM can reduce this process to weeks.
- WAAM enables better material utilisation. For example, a reduction of BTF to <2 leads to cost savings of up to 70% compared to machining the component from solid.
With the increasing use of carbon fibre in aircraft development, designers are moving away from aluminium to titanium. Titanium is an expensive material to machine, so a manufacturing method that still enables the creation of large structures, using cost-effective materials –such as the wire options available in WAAM feedstock– is proving increasingly popular.
Reduced material waste and component life extension
WAAM offers aerospace manufacturers a double blessing – the ability to cut time to market, whilst also delivering a range of environmental benefits:
- The WAAM process minimises waste, and material-usage is very high at approximately up to 98%[i]
- WAAM-based manufacturing also delivers significant energy and CO2 emission savings.
- WAAM has long been used to repair structures, extending the life of components, and delivering even greater environmental and cost benefits.
Reduction of inventory and logistics costs
If nothing else, the pandemic has caused most organisations to re-assess their supply chains. The appeal of local manufacturing has been re-ignited and processes that reduce non-recurring costs are gaining in importance. The nature of WAAM means that it can enable the reduction of inventory and logistics costs by focusing on local, on-demand manufacture.Helping companies to resolve spare part production and repair issues, quickly and as cost-effectively as possible.
As can be seen, WAAM offers a range of benefits to cut time to market. For more information on how WAAM can benefit you, contact us here.
[i] PaoloC. Priarone, Emanuele Pagone, Filomeno Martina, Angioletta R. Catalano, Luca Settineri, Multi-criteria environmental and economic impact assessment of wirearc additive manufacturing, CIRP Annals, Volume 69, Issue 1, 2020, Pages 37-40,