LASER-GUIDED ADDITIVE FABRICATION OF LARGE PIECES” (ITC-20151267)
- The FADO project, part of the ERDF-INNTERCONECTA Programme, is led by CT Ingenieros with the participation of Hydracorte, Airgrup, Syspro, Unimate Robotica, and the research organisations Aimen and the University of A Coruña.
- With this project, additive manufacturing by laser of large parts will be achieved, through a hybrid feed process that combines the contribution of material in the form of yarn with feeding in powder form.
- In the aeronautical industry it can be used for the manufacture of large parts in light alloys; while in the automotive and metalworking sectors it will facilitate the production of large structural components. Furthermore, the system will contribute to manufacturing high value-added parts for the energy, petrochemical and shipbuilding industries.
Syspro participates in the development of an innovative robotic system of additive manufacturing by laser, which will enable the repair and manufacturing of large components for the aeronautical, automotive, metalworking and shipbuilding sectors, among others. This robotic system will combine the laser supply of wire and powder. The device will consist of a hybrid head that will guarantee the flexibility, productivity and robustness necessary to add one or other material depending on the precision requirements of the piece. Thanks to this solution, which will be industrially validated on prototype aluminum components for the aeronautical sector, it is intended to improve the “Buy-to-Fly” ratio, that is, the efficiency of the final material used, by more than 30%.
Furthermore, a significant amount of material will be saved by promoting the use of wire feed instead of powder, a cleaner and more environmentally friendly technology that also means a reduction in costs. Other benefits derived from this innovative system are the decrease in the amount of waste generated, compared to usual subtractive processes; and the improvement in productivity, by achieving higher material deposition rates (with respect to exclusive powder deposition systems) and a greater process speed.
The industrial applications of the project are many and varied. In the aeronautical industry, it can be used for the manufacture of large parts in light alloys; while in the automotive and metalworking sectors, it will enable the production of large structural components. Furthermore, the system will contribute to manufacturing high value-added parts for the energy, petrochemical and shipbuilding industry.
A technological leap for the manufacture of large parts with greater profitability.
At present, additive manufacturing by laser is used in small components of high added value that require great precision, while its application in larger parts is very limited, due to the low deposition rates of the material offered by current technologies, based on powder feeding. A further issue is the lack of simulation tools capable of predicting the behavior of the components manufactured using this technology, so the work methodology is based on trial and error models, which reduces profitability.
The technological challenge that the FADO project sets out to overcome is to resolve these deficiencies to exploit this system in more products and in a faster and more effective way. The developments that will be carried out will be aimed at enabling additive manufacturing by laser of large parts, improving the quality of the final product and increasing profitability. In addition, the entire process will be monitored and controlled online with numerical simulation models, in order to ensure the repeatability of said process and reduce the effect of deformations induced by thermal input.
The FADO project, with a budget of 1.5 million euros, is part of the 2015 ERDF INNTERCONECTA Programme (ITC-20151267), subsidized by the CDTI with funding from ERDF funds, and supported by the Spanish Ministry of the Economy and Competitiveness.
The consortium, led by CT Ingenieros (experts in software development and with extensive knowledge of the aeronautical sector) is completed by Hydracorte (a firm that uses laser technology for cutting and welding processes), Airgrup (components manufacturer for the aeronautical sector), Unimate Robótica (a company engaged in robotic solutions for industry) and Syspro Ingenieria (which is engaged in the monitoring and control of industrial processes through technologies such as Automation, Artificial Vision, Robotics and Process Engineering).
Within the framework of this initiative, two research organizations are participating: AIMEN Technological Centre and the University of A Coruña. AIMEN will collaborate in the design of the online control system and will be in charge of the additive manufacturing process and its validation, given its extensive experience in the development of laser technologies for industry. For its part, the University of A Coruña will participate in the development of the numerical model for the simulation of the Advanced Manufacturing process.