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.”
LET'S REVIEW THE NEED FOR THIS...
High surface quality and dimensional accuracy are key in the WAAM process, particularly as the part is built up using a layer-by-layer process. So how can quality be monitored accurately to ensure a more controlled deposition process? The key lies in not only being able to spot any layer height problems via close monitoring during deposition, but also having the ability to rectify any issues quickly and effectively.
With these two challenges in mind, WAAM3D has been working to enable operators to have a fully controllable production process that also offers industry-leading remedial capabilities. The end result is WAAM3D’s WAAMCtrl® and WAAMKeys software solutions, which works alongside RoboWAAM®, a state-of-the-art, multi-metre 3D metal additive printing platform.
Industry first - WAAM3D’s remedial deposition
Throughout the deposition process, the end-effector is connected to WAAMCtrl® and updates the operator on what is happening throughout the build via ShapeTechTM - a laser interferometer that intervenes right behind the live melt pool, extracting the layer height and the profile of the deposited structure, instantaneously.
Using ShapeTechTM, any intra layer height errors are highlighted and measured and can subsequently be resolved using WAAM3D’s WAAMKeys® software. Based on process algorithms, analytical solutions, and fluid-flow models, that are based on the component’s geometry and alloy, WAAMKeys® can calculate location-specific primary process parameters – automatically. This means that when a locally-incorrect layer height has been identified, WAAMKeys® will provide “compensation” parameters to recover these inconsistencies, and make the overall layer height even again.
For more information on this remedial process in action – watch the latest WAAM3D video.
Monitoring for quality issues
WAAMCtrl®’s role is to monitor, record and control WAAM deposition. It does this by using the 60 sensors on board RoboWAAM®, whilst also recording all key process parameters on its secure server. Alongside other features, the key benefits of WAAMCtrl® for monitoring quality include its ability to:
- Monitor voltage, current, wire feed speed, travel speed, wire position, layer height, pre- and post- deposition temperature, oxygen, gas flow and melt pool in combination with RoboWAAM®’s hardware.
- Render in real time 3D maps of logged data onto the actual tool path.
- Offer improved closed-loop control for automatic wire positioning for existing materials: Ti64, carbon steel.
- Deliver improved in-process layer height measurement.
Thanks to WAAMCtrl®, operators can see in real-time how a project is progressing via the state-of-the-art sensors that transmit information tens of times per second, for monitoring and control via proprietary wire-position and interpass temperature closed-loops. Also, the real-time colour-coding of the 3D charts helps make sense of big deposition data, mapped over the part’s real geometry.
This industry leading combination of WAAM3D’s hardware and software ensures a new level of quality control is now achievable for the 3D printing of large-scale metal components.
To find out how this level of quality control could impact your WAAM processes get in touch.