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Optomec introduces robotic automation to metallic additive manufacturing restore

Optomec, the New Mexico-based builders of Laser Engineered Web Shaping (LENS) and Aerosol Jet Printing (AJP) metallic 3D printers, has launched robotic automation to its Huffman line of manufacturing 3D Metallic Additive Restore machines.

The corporate has mixed its manufacturing laser cladders underneath the Huffman model, with a Fanuc LRMate 200, a compact, six-axis industrial robotic with the approximate measurement and attain of a human arm. The robotic integration is meant to automate the method of loading and unloading components for top quantity restore of turbine blades and vanes. 

“Earlier than automated laser cladding, the workflow for turbine blade restore was lengthy and complex,” explains Todd Lorich, Engineering Supervisor for Optomec’s Huffman line of automated laser cladders. Optomec optimized the stream dramatically by combining imaginative and prescient methods, software program and laser cladding into one hardened, production-grade course of step.”

“Now we’re taking it one step additional. Including robotic half dealing with contained in the machine actually completes the automation for the method, releasing up the operator so as to add extra worth elsewhere within the workflow.”

Optomec Huffman DED system with robotic arm. Photo via Optomec.Optomec Huffman DED system with robotic arm. Picture by way of Optomec.

Optomec LENS know-how

Headquartered in Albuquerque, Optomec was based in 1997 to ship LENS 3D printing, a proprietary know-how developed at Sandia Labs. Primarily based on Directed Vitality Deposition (DED) additive manufacturing, LENS makes use of a metallic powdered feedstock that’s blown via a nozzle after which melted on contact with a laser array to 3D print components.

The capabilities of the LENS course of makes it significantly appropriate for including new materials to conformal surfaces and pre-fabricated parts. As such, it has been utilized in a variety of purposes in upkeep, restore and overhaul (MRO), and lowering waste. LENS can also be being utilized in a challenge led by the Navajo Technical College (NTU) to assist NASA attain the moon in 2024.

Optomec gives LENS 3D printing know-how as each a turnkey system, and an improve for current multi-axis CNC milling machines. In late 2019, Optomec revealed that it had reached the milestone of delivering its 500th 3D printer worldwide, which additionally contains its AJP methods, the corporate’s know-how for manufacturing electronics on each 2D and 3D substrates.

Optomec’s new LDH 3.X laser deposition head allows maximum flexibility for optimal DED building over a full range of laser powers. Photo via Optomec Inc.Optomec’s new LDH three.X laser deposition head permits most flexibility for optimum DED constructing over a full vary of laser powers. Picture by way of Optomec Inc.

Acquisition of Huffman

Again in 2018, Optomec acquired Huffman LLC, a CNC and laser cladding machine provider and repair supplier from Clover, South Carolina. Huffman was based in 1961, and has intensive expertise in supplying metallic 3D printing methods for the additive restore of gasoline turbine parts within the vitality and aviation markets. 

Of the deal, David Ramahi, president and CEO of Optomec commented on the time: “With the Huffman acquisition, we intention to increase the usage of DED/LENS restore for the prevailing put in base of greater than 100,000 gasoline generators and engines.”  

Huffman is now a model working underneath Optomec comprising a line of DED-based laser cladding methods designed to fulfill a variety of additive manufacturing restore and exhausting dealing with purposes, for turbine or engine parts. 

With the robotic integration of the Huffman line of laser cladders with the Fanuc LRMate 200, Optomec goals to automate the loading and unloading of components into the chuck of the laser cladder. It will allow sooner cycle instances for the system, with trays and racks that comprise a dozen or extra parts. In addition to turbine blades and vanes, the potential for top quantity restore can be utilized in quite a lot of industrial purposes. Examples embrace the restore of sealing surfaces of diesel engine parts, or the addition of hardfacing supplies to industrial valve components.

The nominations for the 2020 3D Printing Trade Awards are actually open. Who do you assume ought to make the shortlists for this yr’s present? Have your say now. 

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Featured picture reveals automated laser cladding course of. Picture by way of Optomec.


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