Additive manufacturing (AM) processes are no longer in their infancy. They are quickly emerging into serious options to produce metallic parts. Input alloy requirements and processing energy requirements are considerably lower in AM than in conventional processes, like forging. Thus, AM becomes an attractive option to manufacture forging preforms. Such preforms will allow one-step forging to finished shape/size instead of two or three steps. Further, the use of AM in making forging preforms combines the flexibility and efficiency of near-net-shape manufacturing with the strength and durability properties of wrought manufacturing processes.
Dr. Tushar Borkar from Cleveland State University (CSU) received a grant from Forging Industry Education and Research Foundation (FIERF) to investigate the use of AM processes to reduce the cycle time in forging operations. Dr. Borkar and Fastech Engineering (FasTech) are exploring wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) technology to manufacture forging preforms.
FasTech’s WAAM system can print small to large scale components in steel, titanium, nickel, aluminum alloys with typical deposition rates of 5 kg/h in both 3-and 5-axis configuration using state-of-the-art feedback controls. CSU will study the effect of processing parameters on microstructure and mechanical behavior of 316 stainless steel parts fabricated via different processes, including WAAM, followed by forging. The controlled deformation of the forging process enhances mechanical performance of the printed parts by adding directional properties for strength, ductility, and resistance to impact and fatigue that wouldn’t be possible with AM alone. These results will also be compared with other post-processing methods like vacuum hot press and spark plasma sintering.
FasTech and CSU plan to apply this technology and expand their partnership to manufacture other alloys for the forging industry to minimize cycle time.