Material-efficient Cu wire-based 3D printing technology

Area Acceleration (D2) Segment Upscaling (D2.2) Duration 2019/01/01-2021/12/31

Project Details

The objective of the project is to develop the manufacturing technology of components made of Cu-based alloys, such as water turbine propellers, ship propellers, seawater pump elements e.g. valves, manifolds and other marine equipment, by means of Wire+Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) or more precisely the 3D Metal Printing (3DMP®) technology.

The 3DMP® technology belongs to the WAAM group technologies but was improved and patented by Gefertec (project’s Task Partner) and will be used for production of the aforementioned elements. The 3DMP® technology is considered as the most promising technique for such applications and due to its advantages will be competitive and more environmental friendly than the presently used conventional metal processing technologies. Moreover, 3DMP® technology is an alternative for techniques which utilize metal powders, especially in manufacturing large elements.

The principle of the 3DMP® technology is to make the final product layerbylayer using a metal filler wire as input material. This approach is more efficient than manufacturing by means of typical 3D printers which use metal powders due to the lack of input material losses. The development of Cu-based alloys and of production technology for seawater corrosion resistant elements will be less expensive and result in longer lifetime due to the extraordinary mechanical properties of the Cu-based alloys used to build these elements. The products manufactured by means of 3DMP® technology will have very high strength (durability), internal structure free from defects and will be resistant to the aggressive corrosion of seawater as well as being wear resistant. One should also emphasize that 3DMP® technology enables to build constructions and equipment of lower weight in comparison with the products presently available on the market at lower material loss. Moreover, one should emphasize that this technology will enable to reduce the production costs by the about 20-30% in relation to the currently used conventional multistage manufacturing technology of components (e.g. propellers) operating in corrosion environments.

The cost reduction of production process is possible due to shortening production time and using less processes from min. 7 (conventional metal processing technologies) to max. 3 (3DMP®). The project will result in ready to implement 3DMP® technology for manufacturing of corrosion resistant components and achievement of the project’s objectives will contribute to the development of devices used in obtaining energy from renewable sources as well as marine equipment. On the other hand, implementation of the new technology will allow to significantly reduce the amount of production wastes, consumption of Cu and energy consumption during production as well as negative impact on the environment. Moreover, the 3DMP® technology, developed within this project, can be used to manufacture other products, in many branches of the industry, using the new Cu-based alloys wires.

Project Partners

Łukasiewicz Research Network - Institute of Non-Ferrous Metals

  • Development of the Cu-based alloys
  • Development of production technology of feedstock materials for WAAM
  • Wire arc additive manufacturing at laboratory scale
  • Materials investigations

Ghent University

  • Corrosion-fatigue investigations
  • Tests of the prototypes in seawater environment
  • Educational activities

Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development

  • Material investigations
  • Mechanical proporties

Gefertec GmbH

  • Development of the production process parameters by means of 3DMP technology
  • Implementation of the results of the project (end user)
  • Manufacturing of the new products

Tecnalia Research and Innovation

  • Erosion tests
  • Non-destructive tests

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