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3D Printing Certification

Optomec introduces robotic automation to metallic additive production maintenance


Optomec, the New Mexico-primarily based developers of Laser Engineered Internet Shaping (LENS) and Aerosol Jet Printing (AJP) metallic 3D printers, has released robotic automation to its Huffman line of production 3D Metal Additive Maintenance devices.

The business has put together its generation laser cladders less than the Huffman manufacturer, with a Fanuc LRMate 200, a compact, six-axis industrial robot with the approximate size and get to of a human arm. The robotic integration is intended to automate the system of loading and unloading parts for significant volume restore of turbine blades and vanes. 

“Before automated laser cladding, the workflow for turbine blade mend was extensive and complicated,” describes Todd Lorich, Engineering Manager for Optomec’s Huffman line of automatic laser cladders. Optomec optimized the circulation substantially by combining vision programs, application and laser cladding into a single hardened, output-grade process step.”

“Now we are using it one particular step more. Adding robotic element dealing with within the device actually completes the automation for the approach, freeing up the operator to increase extra worth somewhere else in the workflow.”

Optomec Huffman DED system with robotic arm. Photo via Optomec.
Optomec Huffman DED procedure with robotic arm. Photograph by means of Optomec.

Optomec LENS engineering

Headquartered in Albuquerque, Optomec was started in 1997 to deliver LENS 3D printing certification, a proprietary technological know-how made at Sandia Labs. Dependent on Directed Strength Deposition (DED) additive manufacturing certification, LENS employs a metal powdered feedstock that is blown by means of a nozzle and then melted on get hold of with a laser array to 3D print elements.

The abilities of the LENS course of action will make it particularly suitable for including new substance to conformal surfaces and pre-fabricated parts. As these, it has been utilized in a vary of programs in upkeep, restore and overhaul (MRO), and lessening waste. LENS is also currently being employed in a task led by the Navajo Technological College (NTU) to support NASA access the moon in 2024.

Optomec gives LENS 3D printing certification technologies as both a turnkey system, and an improve for current multi-axis CNC milling equipment. In late 2019, Optomec discovered that it experienced achieved the milestone of providing its 500th 3D printer around the world, which also involves its AJP units, the company’s technologies for manufacturing electronics on equally 2D and 3D substrates.

Optomec’s new LDH 3.X laser deposition head allows maximum flexibility for optimal DED building over a full range of laser powers. Photo via Optomec Inc.
Optomec’s new LDH 3.X laser deposition head makes it possible for maximum flexibility for exceptional DED creating around a full vary of laser powers. Photograph by means of Optomec Inc.

Acquisition of Huffman

Again in 2018, Optomec acquired Huffman LLC, a CNC and laser cladding machine provider and provider supplier from Clover, South Carolina. Huffman was established in 1961, and has intensive practical experience in providing steel 3D printing certification techniques for the additive maintenance of gas turbine components in the strength and aviation marketplaces. 

Of the offer, David Ramahi, president and CEO of Optomec commented at the time: “With the Huffman acquisition, we intention to extend the use of DED/LENS mend for the existing installed foundation of more than 100,000 gasoline turbines and engines.”  

Huffman is now a model operating beneath Optomec comprising a line of DED-centered laser cladding devices created to meet a wide variety of additive producing certification mend and hard going through programs, for turbine or motor factors. 

With the robotic integration of the Huffman line of laser cladders with the Fanuc LRMate 200, Optomec aims to automate the loading and unloading of sections into the chuck of the laser cladder. This will permit a lot quicker cycle situations for the system, with trays and racks that consist of a dozen or extra parts. As properly as turbine blades and vanes, the prospective for superior quantity repair can be used in a quantity of industrial apps. Examples incorporate the mend of sealing surfaces of diesel motor components, or the addition of hardfacing resources to industrial valve parts.

The nominations for the 2020 3D Printing certification Business Awards are now open. Who do you assume ought to make the shortlists for this year’s exhibit? Have your say now. 

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Featured graphic demonstrates automated laser cladding approach. Image by way of Optomec.