Eight industrial companions set to work on modular hybrid manufacturing system

A joint analysis mission funded by the German Federal Ministry for Schooling and Analysis (BMBF) will see the event of a brand new extremely environment friendly modular hybrid manufacturing cell. The eight-partner ProLMD mission was initiated 4 years in the past, with the preliminary intention of manufacturing new hybrid manufacturing processes that mix standard strategies with the laser materials deposition (LMD) AM course of.

Jan Bremer, a scientist on the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Expertise, one of many companions, explains: “The intention was to develop economical and sturdy system expertise for the LMD course of, based mostly on a jointed-arm robotic, and to combine it right into a course of chain for hybrid manufacturing. We’re shifting alongside the method chain for robot-based hybrid additive manufacturing and researching numerous applied sciences required for this. The spectrum of content material covers every thing – from processing heads, robotic and shielding gasoline methods to welding processes, high quality assurance and software program.”

Laser material deposition processing head. Photo via Fraunhofer ILT.Laser materials deposition processing head. Picture by way of Fraunhofer ILT.

Hybrid additive manufacturing

Over the past 4 years, among the mission companions have begun to combine additive manufacturing expertise inside their current course of chains. MTU Aero Engines has been utilizing LMD so as to add practical parts to historically manufactured engine parts; Airbus has been reinforcing a few of its parts by way of 3D ribbing; and Mercedes-Benz has tailored a press instrument on its physique manufacturing line to incorporate an LMD instrument head. The companions’ actions are all consistent with the mission’s imaginative and prescient of domestically reinforcing or modifying conventionally manufactured parts utilizing 3D printing.

Bremer provides, “These examples present what we perceive by hybrid manufacturing. It’s the versatile mixture of benefits from totally different manufacturing processes, because it combines any standard manufacturing course of with LMD to kind a steady course of chain.”

The turbine center frame of a GEnx engine is a demonstration component of the project partner MTU Aero Engines for hybrid additive manufacturing by laser material deposition. Photo via MTU Aero Engines.The turbine middle body of a GEnx engine is an illustration part of the mission accomplice MTU Aero Engines for hybrid additive manufacturing by laser materials deposition. Picture by way of MTU Aero Engines.

The ProLMD mission

For the reason that companions have seen some success in growing particular person hybrid manufacturing processes, the mission has advanced into the event of a single modular hybrid manufacturing cell. The cell is a multi-axis KUKA robotic arm with an LMD toolhead and is designed to be integratable into current course of chains with ease. To allow most utility flexibility, the companions are working to facilitate using each powders and wires as additive supplies. In keeping with Bremer, the mission is concentrated on machining bigger, extra advanced parts weighing as much as 1.2 tons with diameters as much as 2m.

The companions all have outlined roles throughout the mission. For instance, KUKA is performing as mission supervisor and is accountable for the cell integration of the robotic, whereas Laserline is accountable for designing and growing the laser beam supply and optics.

Robot research cell depositing wire laser material at Fraunhofer ILT. Photo via Fraunhofer ILT.Robotic analysis cell depositing wire laser materials at Fraunhofer ILT. Picture by way of Fraunhofer ILT.

The mission companions are additionally engaged on a smaller, secondary mission alongside the principle hybrid manufacturing cell – a extra compact robotic cell for hybrid AM manufacturing. The second robotic might be extra cost-efficient than the bigger system and is designed to cater to the wants of SMEs. The three.1m lengthy robotic arm has been scaled down to simply 2m and the 90kg load capability has been decreased to 60kg. The smaller robotic may also be centered on simply powder-based LMD, shedding the power to work with wire-based additive supplies.

Hybrid manufacturing attracts on the strengths of each standard and additive manufacturing for a more practical consequence. Final yr, DMG MORI, a number one machine instrument producer, launched its LASERTEC 125 3D hybrid additive manufacturing system. The 5-axis laser deposition welding (LDW) system is designed for the upkeep, restore and manufacturing of enormous industrial elements. Extra not too long ago, ANCA, a Melbourne-based producer of CNC grinding machines, has developed its personal hybrid 3D printing system for manufacturing custom-designed machining instruments.

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Featured picture reveals robotic analysis cell depositing wire laser materials at Fraunhofer ILT. Picture by way of Fraunhofer ILT.

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