Wire arc additive manufacturing

Faster to complex component structures

Wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) is a generative manufacturing process in which a metallic filler material, usually in the form of a wire, is melted with the aid of an arc and dropped onto the surface of a component. The desired structures are built up layer by layer in this way. The process is similar to laser metal deposition with wire (LMD-w), but in WAAM an electric arc is used as the energy source instead of a laser.

Large, complex structures or even entire components with cavities can be manufactured significantly faster with the WAAM process than with LMD-w. Excess material is removed by CNC milling after the additive manufacturing process. Compared to conventionally manufactured components, which are milled completely "from the solid," a large amount of valuable raw material can often be saved in this way.

At Fraunhofer IPT, we are further developing arc buildup welding for the additive manufacturing of metallic components. For this purpose, we have developed in-house CAD/CAM software that controls and regulates the production process. As wire filler material, we have a variety of different standardized flux-cored wires, solid wires and special laser wires available, which can be processed very cost-effectively and produce high-quality components.

Research and development around wire-based arc additive manufacturing

In our research, we address technological and organizational challenges along the entire process chain: from optimal wire feeding to process control for different material combinations and various industrial applications. We prepare feasibility studies for arc buildup welding and offer the production of prototypes and the testing of small series on behalf of customers. We also implement wire-based arc additive manufacturing into existing process chains and build arc buildup welding equipment.

Our services at a glance

  • Development of customized additive manufacturing processes
  • Process development for industrial components
  • Design of (hybrid) process chains for the WAAM
  • Feasibility studies for WAAM manufacturing
  • Industrial components valuation
  • Prototype development and production
  • Integration of the processes into industrial series production