Mazak and Oak Ridge National Laboratory Collaborate On Wire Additive Research and Development
Denrie Caila Perez posted on October 03, 2019 |

Mazak Corporation and Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s (ORNL) manufacturing demonstration center in Oak Ridge, Tennessee have recently entered a cooperative research and development agreement to work on manufacturing process solutions.

On behalf of the U.S. Department of Energy, the two will be working on the development of Hot Wire Deposition (HWD) for additive manufacturing applications in part production operations. The collaboration will revolve around enhancing Mazak’s HYBRID Multi-tasking HWD technology as a commercially viable solution. Mazak has been committed to advancing the concept of multi-tasking machine tool technology through the development of the HYBRID Multi-Tasking Machines. It combines additive technology, such as direct metal laser sintering and multi-laser HWD, with subtractive manufacturing operations. The machine’s Hot Wire laser incorporates an automatic wire feeder system that feeds welding wire to an Argon gas nozzle.

Through their collaborative efforts, Mazak and ORNL intend to generate an HWD process guide that will include parameters for both the process itself as well as different metals. These parameters will be incorporated into a database by Mazak for the machine tool to automate the HWD process.

Technology has MRO Applications 

According to Mazak, the research is expected to result in a closed-loop control system capable of making on-the-fly adjustments according to sensor feedback during the HWD builds. This technology has applications in maintenance, repair and overhaul operations, such as the repair of turbine blades and other high-wear parts such as engine blocks, cylinder heads, and molds and dies. Worn or damaged parts can be built and and refinished in one setup, increasing the working life of parts while avoiding the need to produce new ones. The part being in the same fixture during deposition and finishing operations eliminates problems with locating irregularly-shaped additive features accurately.

Besides in-process adjustability, the closed-loop system is also responsible for monitoring and controlling the HWD melt pool temperature. As new layers are built, temperatures of the initial layers cool as more layers are added. However, as the HWD build continues, the overall process heat levels will also increase gradually. To address these, the control system varies the laser intensity — higher or lower — to keep temperatures consistent.

Dr. Lonnie Love, head of the HWD project at ORNL, will be sharing more details about the collaboration with Mazak and their results at the DISCOVER 2019 technology and education event in Kentucky as a keynote speaker.

Check out this video on the Mazak hybrid multitasking machine:

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