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Fabrication of curved overhanging thin-walled structure with robotic wire and arc additive manufacturing (RWAAM)

Yifeng Li (School of Automotive Engineering, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan, China, and Hubei Key Laboratory of Advanced Technology for Automotive Components, Wuhan, China and Hubei Collaborative Innovation Center for Automotive Components Technology, Wuhan, China)
Xunpeng Qin (School of Automotive Engineering, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan, China, and Hubei Key Laboratory of Advanced Technology for Automotive Components, Wuhan, China and Hubei Collaborative Innovation Center for Automotive Components Technology, Wuhan, China)
Qiang Wu (School of Automotive Engineering, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan, China, and Hubei Key Laboratory of Advanced Technology for Automotive Components, Wuhan, China)
Zeqi Hu (School of Automotive Engineering, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan, China, and Hubei Key Laboratory of Advanced Technology for Automotive Components, Wuhan, China)
Tan Shao (School of Automotive Engineering, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan, China, and Hubei Key Laboratory of Advanced Technology for Automotive Components, Wuhan, China)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 2 September 2019

Issue publication date: 16 January 2020

Abstract

Purpose

Robotic wire and arc additive manufacturing (RWAAM) is becoming more and more popular for its capability of fabricating metallic parts with complicated structure. To unlock the potential of 6-DOF industrial robots and improve the power of additive manufacturing, this paper aims to present a method to fabricate curved overhanging thin-walled parts free from turn table and support structures.

Design/methodology/approach

Five groups of straight inclined thin-walled parts with different angles were fabricated with the torch aligned with the inclination angle using RWAAM, and the angle precision was verified by recording the growth of each layer in both horizontal and vertical directions; furthermore, the experimental phenomena was explained with the force model of the molten pool and the forming characteristics was investigated. Based on the results above, an algorithm for fabricating curved overhanging thin-walled part was presented and validated.

Findings

The force model and forming characteristics during the RWAAM process were investigated. Based on the result, the influence of the torch orientation on the weld pool flow was used to control the pool flow, then a practical algorithm for fabricating curved overhanging thin-walled part was proposed and validated.

Originality/value

Regarding the fabrication of curved overhanging thin-walled parts, given the influences of the torch angles on the deposited morphology, porosity formation rate and weld pool flow, the flexibility of 6-DOF industrial robot was fully used to realize instant adjustment of the torch angle. In this paper, the deposition point and torch orientation of each layer of a robotic fabrication path was determined by the contour equation of the curve surface. By adjusting the torch angle, the pool flow was controlled and better forming quality was acquired.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank all the staff of Hubei Key Laboratory of Advanced Technology for Automotive Components for supporting this work. The work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC), No. 51575415, and the National Key R&D Program of China, No. 2018YFB1106500.

Citation

Li, Y., Qin, X., Wu, Q., Hu, Z. and Shao, T. (2020), "Fabrication of curved overhanging thin-walled structure with robotic wire and arc additive manufacturing (RWAAM)", Industrial Robot, Vol. 47 No. 1, pp. 102-110. https://doi.org/10.1108/IR-05-2019-0112

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited