How Mazak's Multitasking Machine Uses Welding for Additive Manufacturing
Mazak’s VC-500A/5X AM HWD multitasking machine incorporates a “hot wire” additive manufacturing technology that applies sealing coatings or produces near-net shape part features while the workpiece has been mounted for machining.
Mazak is further expanding its multitasking technology with the new VC-500A/5X AM HWD multitasking machine on display in the company’s second Additive Manufacturing booth 432000 in the West Building. The machine incorporates a “hot wire” additive manufacturing technology developed in collaboration with Lincoln Electric, the company that designs, develops and manufactures arc welding products, robotic arc welding systems as well as plasma and oxyfuel cutting equipment.
Here’s how the process works: As with conventional welding, an arc torch melts metal wire directly onto a base material and/or part. The two materials (wire and workpiece) can be dissimilar. This enables the machine to generate exceptionally precise sealing coatings or produce near-net shape part features while the workpiece has been mounted for machining, the company says. The method can also be used to repair costly, complex components such as impellers, turbine blades, or tool and die parts.
The machine’s hot-wire head has the same five-axis capability as its milling spindle, which provides the maneuverability to build new part features or weldments on all of a workpiece’s surfaces. According to the company, it is well-suited for high-volume additive manufacturing and helps to minimize equipment and material costs. The head incorporates an automatic wire feeder system that feeds welding wire to an argon gas nozzle. The head provides a deposition rate of three to four pounds per hour with a 98-percent material utilization rate.
In addition, the machine offers five-axis machining capabilities. It has a trunnion-style rotary/tilt table for processing small complex parts. It features a CAT-40, 12,000-rpm spindle suitable for steel, aluminum and cast iron.