3D printing is quickly evolving from a specialized technique primarily used in rapid prototyping to a mainstream manufacturing technology. In a modern production environments it compliments the traditionally ways of making parts through castings or machining by utilizing a range of additive manufacturing techniques.
3D Printing offers several characteristics that can:
- Reduce cost
- Expedite lead times
- Increase quality
- Improve part performance and
- Save resources
LWS offers several 3D printing technologies and assists customers in the selection of the process best suited for the application
Powder Bed 3D Printing
LWS offers powder bed 3D printing through several partnering companies. In a powder bed 3D printing process a component is generated in a vacuum build-chamber utilizing a layer by layer stacking process. The process is characterized by a small build rate with high resolution and print accuracy. Therefore it is mainly used for smaller and often complex components, such as medical devices, smaller valves, injector nozzles etc. Based on the application and part requirements, we are guiding our customers to the right 3D printing applicator within our network of partnering companies.
Laser Directed Energy Deposition - DLD
Laser Directed Energy Deposition is a variation of laser cladding. Laser welded tracks are generated with powder or filler wire and stacked to produce a three dimensional component. The build rate is much higher compared to a powder bed 3D printing process while resolution and geometrical accuracy are slightly reduced. Therefore the printing process is typically followed by a final machining step. The material characteristics of the laser 3D additive manufacturing component are generally excellent. Laser 3D Additive Manufacturing is used for mid sized components in the Oil & Gas , Aerospace and Tool & Die industries, to name a few.
Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing - WAAM
WAAM is an innovative process based on traditional arc welding. Similar to laser AM, the welded tracks are layered on top of each other in a 5 axis machine to generate three dimensional structures. The build rate is much better compared to powder bed while the resolution is slightly less than in a laser AM process. The build quality is high with very good mechanical properties of the printed material. The process is very well suited for larger components in Aerospace and the Oil & Gas Industry amongst others.
Additive Friction Stir Deposition -AFSD
Additive Friction Stir Deposition (AFSD) is a relatively new and promising process for additive manufacturing. The process uses a rotating tool to generate heat and plasticize the material being added. The resulting part has a fine-grained microstructure and high strength due to the material being deformed and mixed together rather than melted and resolidified. The AFSD process is particularly suitable for materials that are difficult to weld using traditional fusion-based processes, such as high-strength aluminum alloys. AFSD can also be used to join dissimilar materials, allowing for the creation of multi-material components. Additionally, the process has the potential for high production rates due to its ability to create large parts quickly.
3dHP - 3D Hybrid Printing
3dHP is an exciting new process offered at LWS. The process is combining the advantages of traditional manufacturing and 3D printing for highest production efficiency at exceptional quality standards. This is achieved by only 3D printing important geometrical features onto pre-machined components. In the Oil & Gas industry for example, with this process many sizes of drilling tools can be manufactured from standard tubes, greatly reducing manufacturing and inventory costs at much shorter lead times. LWS engineers work with our customers on developing the most synergies between the combined manufacturing techniques and the highest quality printing.