Gefertec’s Wire-Feed 3D Printing Process Being Developed for Aerospace

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[Image: BIAS]

Metal additive manufacturing is generally associated with metal powder, but a few technologies use wire instead. According to Gefertec, which uses wire as the feedstock for its patented 3DMP technology, there are numerous advantages to wire additive manufacturing. These include nearly 100% material utilization, uncomplicated storage, low material costs, easy handling, optimum processability, and an extensive selection of materials. 3DMP is a three-step process that allows for a great deal of design freedom, higher deposition rates and large parts at low cost.

Right now, the Bremer Institut für Angewandte Strahltechnik GmbH (BIAS) is working with Gefertec to qualify the 3DMP method for the production of large structural components, particularly for aerospace applications. The research is being carried out as part of REGIS, a collaborative project that includes several different partners from the aerospace industry, machine manufacturers and other research institutions. Recently, Gefertec installed an arc403 3DMP machine at BIAS, where work will include ensuring homogeneous material properties in the production of titanium and aluminium using 3DMP. The project is being funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Part of the work will involve investigating the influence of heat input and shielding gas content on the mechanical properties of titanium and aluminium components. The team will also work towards developing an online system for process monitoring of the temperature of the printed material.

Gefertec is a young company, having been founded in only 2015 and now offers two machines: the arc603 and the arc605, which it describes as ideal for both metalworking and research and development. 3DMP combines arc welding with 3D printing, welding wire together layer by layer to form large, strong parts.

[Image: Gefertec]

“3DMP® combines the technically mature and highly reliable arc welding method with the CAD data of the metal parts that are to be produced,” states Gefertec. “The interface between the planning data of the engineers and developers, on the one hand, and the arc-welding machine, on the other hand, is our bespoke software that takes the CAD data and converts them into individual digital printing layers, the so-called CAM models. Then, the blank part is printed fully automatically and in a controlled manner. This step is followed by a 3D scan for quality control and finally the milling of the finished part.”

According to Gefertec, 3DMP is the most economically efficient method of 3D printing metal parts – it enables cost savings of up to €1,000 per hour. Optional milling machines can be integrated into the arc603 and arc605 so that all steps can be completed on the same machine, adding further to the convenience factor. It’s not surprising that this method should appeal to the aerospace industry, with its capacity for speed, strength and cost savings.

Gefertec is based in Berlin, Germany.

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