Automation of Robotized Laser Metal-Wire Deposition

A. Heralić, A.-K. Christiansson, M. Ottosson, K. Hurtig, and B. Lennartson (Sweden)


Metal deposition, robot, laser, automation


Robotized Laser Metal-wire Deposition (RLMwD) is a novel technique for solid freeform fabrication of fully dense metal structures. The process utilizes robotized fibre laser welding and wire filler material together with a lay ered manufacturing method to create metal structures di rectly from a CAD drawing. RLMwD can also be used for repairing or modifying existing components. Since a 6 axis robot arm manoeuvres the welding tool, a higher level of flexibility is introduced compared to most existing com mercial metal deposition systems. Also, introducing metal wire as filler material, rather than metal powder, we ex pect to increase the manufacturing rate considerably and to improve the metallurgical properties of the built-up com ponents. Initially, tool-steel and nickel based alloys will be considered. The main objective of this research is the automa tion of the deposition process. For this purpose a system has been developed at University West for measuring cru cial signals during deposition. It monitors the variations in the process parameters, the built geometry, and the tem perature, before and after a new layer is produced and can thereby facilitate for automatic compensation. In this paper the structure of the RLMwD system is described, including a control strategy for automation of the deposition process.

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