6 March 2019

TWI orders unique TRUMPF 3D laser system with Additive Manufacturing capabilities

TWI Ltd has ordered a TRUMPF TruLaser Cell 7040 five-axis machine with a disk laser and laser metal deposition (LMD) functionality.

TWI will locate the machine at its Rotherham facility on the Advanced Manufacturing Park, where it will be put to work on the Open Architecture Additive Manufacturing (OAAM) project, for which TWI is the lead partner. The OAAM programme plans to develop directed energy deposition (DED) additive manufacturing (AM) technologies that can be scaled up to accept multi-metre component sizes for the benefit of UK Aerospace. These new platforms will enable aerospace manufacturers and their supply chains to develop advanced AM manufacturing concepts.

“We’ve been running several LMD systems on both industrial robot manipulators and a TRUMPF DMD 505 gantry-type five-axis cell for the past 15 years,” says Carl Hauser, Section Manager, Laser Additive Manufacturing at TWI. “Although the TRUMPF machine still functions perfectly well, being part of the OAAM project allowed us to consider our options and specify a new high precision system to meet the growing needs of the aerospace industry and of TWI member companies. After an assessment, the decision was made to invest in a new large scale five-axis gantry facility for laser additive manufacturing.” Following a public tender, an order was duly placed for a TRUMPF TruLaser Cell 7040 with LMD capability.

TRUMPF and TWI are working in close co-operation to deliver a system that will meet specific requirements of the OAAM project. This work has led to the specification of a number of critical adjustments to the standard system. In addition to the machine’s five-axis capability, there will be a fully integrated rotate and tilt table with a 1500kg load capacity, controlled by special software routines specified by TWI and being developed by TRUMPF. 

“The OAAM project will steer the development of large-scale 3D printed aerospace parts, typically aero body and fuselage components, but also engine casings and landing gear parts, for example,” explains Dr. Hauser, adding, “the new TRUMPF machine will be an integral and critical resource to drive our organisation forward, not just on the OAAM project, but for many years beyond.”

The TRUMPF TruLaser Cell 7040 is due to arrive at TWI’s Sheffield facility in the summer of 2019. The OAAM project, which is supported by Innovate UK (ref:113164), commenced on the 1 January 2018 and will run for three years.

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