Determining Part Suitability for WAM®

Mar 4, 2021 | External News

Determine WAM® Part Suitability

You’ve heard of AML3D’s proprietary process Wire Additive Manufacturing (WAM®), a variant of Wire+Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM), and you are considering exploring the technology for the manufacture of your parts; but how do you determine if your part is suitable for WAM®?

There are several design, material and production considerations when reviewing a part’s suitability for our WAM® process at AML3D®. With the help of BSI’s PAS 6012:2020 and our technical team, we can break it down as follows:

Part Complexity

How complex is the part that you are considering metal 3D printing? Parts that are highly complex or super simple may not be suitable. But there is a happy medium.

We have found that some geometrically complex parts do well with WAM®; most issues normally arise from specific machining requirements. Geometrically complex parts which are limitations can include latticing and internal channels. Design optimisation massively improves the buildability using possibilities for using WAM®, and can ultimately improve a part’s performance.

Simple smaller parts that are generally manufactured from sheet metal or machined from smaller easy to source billet shapes have a quicker manufacturing time due to billets being on hand. We’ve discovered these part’s should be manufactured by traditional means.

Part Size

WAM® process works best for medium to large scale industrial parts. THINK BIG WITH WAM®!

Ideally, the part should be greater than 300 x 300 x 300 mm. The largest part we have printed to-date has been a 1.7 m long Panama Chock, with a total mass of 1.4-ton. Another project that we recently delivered for a customer in the maritime sector was 2.7 m long. We know we can do bigger!

Material Processing Challenge

One of our favourite benefits of WAM® is the lack of material challenge that the process faces. There is a large array of metal alloy grades available as weldable wire feedstock. Wire feedstock is also readily available, resulting in lower lead times.

Cost savings are a positive outcome of WAM®; this is due to the near-net print nature of the process, which means less material is required for manufacture than conventional methods. There is also no consumable wastage, as 100% of the wire consumable is deposited for the near net part/shape being produced.

When manufacturing parts with expensive metal such as Titanium alloys, Nickel alloys or INVAR, you are using considerably less material, than you would when machining from solid billet.

Subtractive Material Processing Challenge

All parts produced by AML3D arrive finished and machined to perfection. For us, the optimal part for WAM® will have minimal to no internal complex machining requirements. An example here might be an enclosed impeller or an enclosed double suction impeller.

The smaller clearances of this part make printing and machining challenging to manage, and an expensive exercise. If the impeller does not require machining, and a raw internal state is suitable, we can explore manufacturing with WAM®.

Material Cost

Our WAM® process ensures that parts are printed near-net shape. The overprint is calculated so that material waste is minimal. We have compared our material waste to traditional billet manufacturing, and on some parts, we can save up to 80% on material waste depending on the component geometry. The near-net construct of WAM® reflects direct savings on material expenses.

Quantity

Do you know how many parts you need printing? Our Arcemy® Print Modules and our contract  WAM® services can print a single prototype for testing, a small part run, or a large part run; it is a very adaptable process. Additionally, at AML3D’s Adelaide Manufacturing Facility, seven active production cells allowing us to meet customer needs.

We also have another four production cells on their way to Singapore; we are consistently expanding to meet market demands.

Flexibility

At AML3D, we have found that flexibility and readiness for manufacture are among the highly sought-after attributes of WAM®.

With the large metal alloy range of wire feedstock available, along with no tooling requirements, gives maximum flexibility when manufacturing with the WAM® process. We believe that the integration of smart automated robotic welding systems, flexible proprietary WAMSoft® for digital processing, along with the Internet of Things (IoT) further enhances flexibility for new-age manufacturing as part of Industry 4.0.

In summary…

When we are looking at assessing your part for WAM® suitability, we review the complexity of your parts looking for a happy medium between complex and simple. We look at your part’s size, is it a large scale, industrial part, or a small component? What material is the part to be fabricated from? And what specific properties are required? How is the part to be finished? What are the machining requirements? This process follows the new and current global standards for 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing.

When discussing your parts with you, AML3D will help assess the material waste savings and save you in cost while contributing to a more sustainable manufacturing environment.

We also discuss lead times, where there are immense advantages when considering WAM®. What lead time are you currently experiencing? How is that affecting your business operations? We will discuss options on how we can improve this for your supply chain management.

And finally, what sort of quantity are you requiring?

If you have parts and components that you are considering manufacturing using metal 3D printing, or would like to learn more about how WAM® can save you time, improve your supply chain and lower manufacturing costs, contact us or call us at +61 429 550 593 and talk to a WAM® specialist today.

Supporting resources:
PAS6012:2020 Additive Manufacturing – Wire Arc – Guide.

In November 2020, The British Standards Institution (BSI) released a series of guides on Additive Manufacturing for Wire Arc. We hope these guides are the beginning of standards-setting of WAM® as an emerging technology in manufacturing. It is an exciting and positive step toward helping educate manufacturing industries on WAM® and its potential application.

About AML3D Limited

AML3D Limited is an Australian public company incorporated on 14 November 2014 and currently operates out of its Adelaide Manufacturing Centre. The Company specialises in providing commercial large-scale “Additive Metal Layering” 3D printing services to Defence, Maritime, Automotive and Resources customers. The Company has commercialised its technology under the trademark WAM® and proprietary software WAMSoft® which combines metallurgical science and engineering design to fully automate the 3D printing process utilising advanced robotics technology.