A new academic-industrial partnership is developing two Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) variants to achieve substantial improvements in deposition rates and printing efficiency by looking at the next level of additive productivity.
The project, known as LAMM, brings together four specialist organisations and has received €428,000 of funding from EIT Manufacturing. EITM was established in 2019 with the vision that global manufacturing will continue to be led by Europe, and it strives towards making Europe and its manufacturing sector more competitive and sustainable.
LAMM envisions to mature the highest deposition rate WAAM kit on the market, more than doubling what is currently possible across all WAAM processes, significantly decreasing running costs and increasing the potential market for the technology. The project will complete the industrialisation of two kinds of End-Effectors, tailored for the deposition of Ti64 and steel, as well as a set of software tools to optimise process parameters and path planning. Additionally, existing life cycle assessment tools will be modified to accommodate the novel deposition approaches.
The collaboration builds on the industrialisations efforts led by WAAM3D (UK), a Cranfield University spin-out company. WAAM3D is joined by Guaranteed BV (Belgium), FAN3D (Portugal), and the Laboratory For Manufacturing Systems & Automation (LMS) of the University of Patras (Greece), which is also the project’s coordinator.
The roles in the project are:
- WAAM3D – to design, build, and test two new end-effectors, and demonstrate the viability of high build rate on several demonstrator parts; and to adapt their proprietary software stack to the new capabilities
- FAN3D and Guaranteed – to upgrade their existing WAAM kit with the new hardware and software, and to demonstrate successful technology transfer
- LMS – to advance modelling and simulation tools optimising tool paths and process parameters.
LAMM started in January 2022. WAAM3D is undergoing testing of the new hardware prior to its delivery to Guaranteed and FAN3D. Demonstrator parts will be built next, with the project expected to close within budget and on time in December 2022.
A spokesperson for the consortium said: “This project is an exciting opportunity to complete challenging high TRL industrialisation after years of internal R&D. The critical funding provided by EITM reflects the credibility of the project’s ambition and the timely need for the improvements sought. 3D printing has already proven numerous benefits over traditional processes in terms of speed, design, sustainability and cost, but at 15 kg/h we can explore even wider horizons.”