Robotic 3D Printing with Lasers and Molten Metal

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KUKA partner, Midwest Engineered Systems, is an innovator and leader in complex systems integration — providing custom automation solutions for assembly lines, palletizing/depalletizing, material handling, machine tending, deburring, robotic welding, fully automated production lines, and much more.

In the last several years, MWES has become known for its groundbreaking work in laser wire additive manufacturing. The process can handle very large parts and can save up to 90% of he material that is typically machined away during manufacturing.

Take a look at this incredible technology.

More about MWES:
Midwest engineered systems basically does process intensive and highly engineered automation systems everyone that comes here is pretty much looking for something that doesn't exist and we're the guys that they come through to get it done we've actually came up with a way to print with metal using wire really what that does is allows you to print larger parts and it allows you to print them faster we developed a additive manufacturing system using the hot wire process in order to preheat the wire before it actually gets into the molten pool that means we can put down a metal up to 20 pounds an hour with out a blink of an eye in order to build large huge parts additive manufacturing provides a capability that isn't known commonly for manufacturing methods rather than combining materials in a welding platform using molten metal in a casting operation or taking a block of metal machining it now we can take a simple material like a powder or metal and add that material up in a welded platform so it ends up creating a component from scratch the unique aspect of our additive manufacturing system is not only as a heavy deposition using high-power lasers it also uses a heated wire so that we can put a lot more material into the component as we're building it but we also combine that with large positioners and a large working environment yeah there really is no limit on size I can take a cuckoo robot and put a large track on the floor as long as customer's good with the room that it goes into there's really no limit on how big of a heart you can make the bigger problems are the physics of printing the parts you know is the part gonna warp or if the part does warp how to how to contend with the warp we need to have way more control over that liquid metal what we are depositing all of that is being controlled in a closed-loop system within a millisecond range we are reading sensor readings we are evaluating those sensor readings and we are applying changes to the robot past the robot travel speed the laser power the welding wire speed the system is constantly monitoring and storing that data we can guarantee that the quality of the material is consistent through the entire build structure because we're monitoring the heat and the deposition of the material constantly through the process there's cost efficiencies in the overall system because there's less machining time necessary because we're not taking as much the component out it can bring the cost down for making parts the more expensive the material and the less of that material that you actually have to use or start with is certainly something that a lot of people see our system can be used for in the aerospace industry since we are using exotic materials like titanium we also can use that in the defense industry with duplex stainless steel or you can use it in the general industry with regular carbon steel in order to build any part but what you can think of yeah it's entirely possible that we could build an entire wing structure within one of ourselves it's huge savings that and if you look at the energy consumption of a foundry versus what we're providing in this environment because it's direct energy deposit you're gonna find that all the energy is necessary to melt the material right where you need it there's very little waste and you get the component faster you can build your design right on your computer you download that program to the robot system and you can produce a part within hours instead of waiting months to get that home into your hands for our additive manufacturing program we choose the cuca robot one of the biggest reasons was the open architecture of their control system when we're looking for a rigid arm and the ability to provide very unique software that integrates well with the robotic system Cukor's our branded choice since we are working with several different customers and the size range and the application always is a little different we can choose from a great product range for that application so we might end up using a 300 kilogram robot or we might up using a 90 kilogram or just a 30 kilogram robot depending on the application for reach as well as the payload for that equipment before you were using this platform to simply join pieces of material together now we're going through an additive process that creates components from scratch in a metal format that creates grain structure and characteristics that are unique to this process the technology that we're actually coming up with here is pretty astounding and I see that in the next maybe 5 10 years this stuff will be mainstream we see our our growth and additive manufacturing right now pretty steady intelligence

Robotic 3D Printing with Lasers and Molten Metal

15 thoughts on “Robotic 3D Printing with Lasers and Molten Metal”

  1. Imagine trying to keep some vital but out-of-production machine running when nobody has any spare parts.
    Imagine that no longer being a problem.
    Imagine things that could not be built before.
    This technology will change the world.
    Faster, please.

  2. 3D printing a wax part and casting it gets a better surface quality in a shorter time period. This is cool for super large structures and post processing with a multi axis mill though.

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