Reducing Repair Costs Using WAAM

September 14, 2022
5 min read

A challenge regularly faced by maintenance teams is the juggling of high value components that need replacing or repairing. This is because the lifespan of high value components, such as turbine blades and engine combustion chambers can be severely shortened by cracking and thermal stresses.


Due to the high cost of fabricating replacement components, the argument for repair instead of replacement is a strong one. Components that are ideal for repair via the wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM®) process are high value ones such as turbine blades, blisks, engine combustion chambers, moulds and dies.


The benefits of using WAAM to repair components


Mechanical integrity - an extremely accurate and consistent weld path and bead size is maintained across the entire area of the repair, with the wire feedstock being fully melted to become an integral part of the final structure. 


Environmental savings - material efficiency of this metal 3D printing method has a significant impact on the overall environmental impact of manufacturing, compared to traditional forging or CNC machining. Also, WAAM delivers energy, CO2 emission and other environmental savings.


Cost and time savings – WAAM enables component life extension, raw material and energy consumption efficiencies and lead time reductions. The cost of the metal wire used for deposition is also cheaper than metal powders. All these combined can deliver significant cost savings.


Inventory management – Whether for repair or replacement, due to the speed of creating WAAM components, there is no need to keep in stock high value parts “just in case”, especially when it comes to obsolescence management.


Large-scale metal additive manufacturing repair in action

If a part fails or begins to wear outside of safe operating parameters, it is normally replaced. Taking a 36.5kg steel disk that drives a crank via a protruding pin as an example, let’s see the difference that WAAM can make to energy consumption efficiencies:


WAAM is unique in its ability to repair parts that would otherwise be scrapped, in a way that retains or enhances the original mechanical characteristics of the part in a resource-efficient manner. As can be seen, this metal additive manufacturing process adds significant value for manufacturers looking to repair or create components, whilst minimising waste.

To find out more about how to reduce repair costs, why not see how WAAM can help you? Get in touch