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Industrie 4.0

The 3D printing of large components can be retrofitted

The Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology (IPT) has developed a new laser module for wire-based laser deposition welding. It can be retrofitted and coupled with existing robot systems.

24 Oct. 2018
HMI-ID10-020kt_FraunhoferIPT
The 3D printing of large components can be retrofitted (Foto: Fraunhofer IPT)

LMD-W-20-L (Laser Metal Deposition-Wire, LMD-W) is the name of the new laser welding head for wire-based laser deposition welding. While the powder-based, selective laser melting process is primarily suitable for additive manufacturing of small, complex metal components, deposition welding by means of wire is above all a low-cost, material-saving and environmentally-friendly alternative for larger workpieces: the material efficiency of the process is 100%. Applications include the production of large-surface components for aircraft construction .

However, in contrast to powder-based 3D printing, the requirements for the control electronics are more demanding and the systems are more vulnerable to malfunctions. That is why, according to the Fraunhofer IPT, the new laser machining head has a quite robust design. The integrated sensor technology allows the connection to existing industrial robot systems and continuous fault analysis during the production process. The new module is also compatible with wires made of different steel grades as well as alloys based on titanium and nickel.