Additive manufacturing (AM) has opened up a totally new realm of design possibilities. Nevertheless, due to low productivity, most AM techniques are not economically feasible for the production of large structures. Unlike any other metal AM technology, Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) can produce fully dense metallic structures with virtually no porosity.
Large engineering structures like turbines, metallic bridges or industrial machinery are still manufactured by traditional processes such as forging, casting, welding, bolting or by machining them from solid blocks. These processes do not allow local control of material properties to achieve a specific function like anti-corrosion or hardness. To meet the functional specifications, engineers must operate within a limited range of design options, with high “buy-to-fly” ratios and long lead times.
In Grade2XL, we will demonstrate the potential of multi-material wire+arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) for large scale structures. The high printing rate of WAAM, combined with the ability to control material properties down to the nanoscale, will allow us to build strong and durable engineering structures. Grade2XL will deliver multi-material products of superior quality and performance, cut lead times by up to 94% and enable cost savings in the range of billions of euros for the maritime and energy industry, as well as for industrial machinery.
Grade2XL will deliver a multi-material, high throughput WAAM system, removing the technological barriers that hinder the application of WAAM, on three levels:
Material level: functionally graded (multi)materials will be achieved by controlling the two main factors governing the material properties: the chemical composition and the thermal cycle.
Process level: high WAAM productivity will be achieved using multiple wire deposition systems. The productivity will increase from typically 2 kg/h to 5 kg/h, which can double when a dual robot configuration is used. In-line contactless inspection will ensure first time right quality and facilitate qualification.
Life cycle or system level: challenging applications will demonstrate the lifecycle benefits of WAAM multi-material devices and in-line process control.