As companies look to transition to manufacturing components more cost effectively, sustainably and ecologically, additive manufacturing (AM), otherwise known as 3D printing, is becoming a key enabling technology. It also offers a solution to supply chain problems, particularly relating to the sourcing of raw materials.
Kingsbury, sole UK sales and service agent in the UK, Ireland and the Gulf for WAAM (wire arc additive manufacturing) equipment builder Gefertec GmbH, Germany, has put together an application example detailing the benefits that the process can bring to the manufacture of an Inconel engine blisk.
The part’s geometry and blade features demonstrate the accuracy, repeatability and overall effectiveness of the Gefertec process, which is based on a 5-axis machine tool platform controlled by a Siemens 840D CNC system. The unique software can quickly generate a print path from a component STP file, a feature exclusive to the manufacturer’s range of production-ready WAAM machines.
Traditionally, the blisk would be produced from a 72kg, £3,500 forging that would subsequently be milled, adding further expense and time. As a cost-effective and economical alternative, Kingsbury started with a 300mm diameter Inconel 718 central hub onto which the Gefertec machine deposited Inconel 625 in four stages to create a fully printed blisk.