Cranfield University spin-out WAAM3D has sold a RoboWAAM Advanced to Aichi Sangyo, a Japanese industrial solution provider for metal processing. Since 2020, this is the sixteenth deposition system sold by WAAM3D, with installations across eight countries worldwide.
“We are committed to continuing technology and process development too. Recently, countermeasures against labor shortages, improvement in production efficiency, and reduction of environmental footprint are becoming important issues in the Japanese market. This is why we started communicating with Cranfield University and WAAM3D, and have been deepening our alliance over the years. I believe it is now the right time to introduce RoboWAAM to Japan. Together we intend to contribute to the brighter future of the industries with this technology,” said Mr. Hirotaka Inoue, President of Aichi Sangyo.
WAAM3D’s industrial portfolio
This year, WAAM3D unveiled a novel large-format metal 3D printer based on the company’s Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) technology. The metal printer, dubbed RoboWAAM, has a massive build volume of 2 x 2 x 2m and is loaded with new sensing hardware to serve customers in aerospace, defense, energy, and other industries. The RoboWAAM, which comes with its own robotic arm, is intended to be a turnkey metal 3D printing system capable of processing “virtually any material” accessible in wire form. It can be used to create new components as well as repair existing metal parts.
Previously, Accuron Technologies Ltd, a Singapore-based international engineering and technology group, provided funding to WAAM3D. The investment completed WAAM3D’s Series A round. The company aimed to commercialize Wire-based Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) technology. With the additional funding, WAAM3D continued in this direction and advanced the process’ development for use in commercial applications.
“We have been developing this relationship with Aichi Sangyo for many years now. As we look towards Japan as a country with great potential across industries of key interest to WAAM3D, we take our partnership one step further, extending our global reach, and creating capacity locally,” said Dr. Filomeno Martina, CEO, and co-founder of WAAM3D.
Industrial metal 3D printing systems
Previously, a development in the capability of Optomec‘s LENS Directed Energy Deposition (DED) 3D printers was announced by the Aerosol Jet Printing (AJP) and Laser Engineered Net Shaping (LENS) companies. As a result, any aluminum alloy can be deposited, including those created with improved properties for additive manufacturing, using any of Optomec’s metal 3D printers. This opens up possibilities for expanding the technology’s applications in the transportation and aerospace industries.
Earlier this year, TRUMPF, a German machine tool manufacturer, and the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT) signed a partnership deal to expedite technology transfer to industry in the field of laser metal deposition. The partners merged their knowledge and experience in laser system technologies and application-specific know-how to conduct research and development for their customers to improve the productivity, speed, materials, and processes of laser material deposition.
Elsewhere, the advancement of a novel highly efficient modular hybrid manufacturing cell was initiated by a joint research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The ProLMD project, which has eight partners, began six years ago with the goal of developing new hybrid manufacturing processes that combine traditional methods with the laser material deposition (LMD) AM process.
“The aim was to develop economical and robust system technology for the LMD process, based on a jointed-arm robot, and to integrate it into a process chain for hybrid manufacturing. We are moving along the process chain for robot-based hybrid additive manufacturing and researching various technologies required for this. The spectrum of content covers everything – from processing heads, robot and shielding gas systems to welding processes, quality assurance, and software,” said Jan Bremer, a scientist at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology, one of the partners.
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Feature image shows WAAM3D’s RoboWAAM 3D printer. Photo via WAAM3D.