Welding Enclosures for Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing

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TWI (The Welding Institute) states that: “Wire arc additive manufacturing uses arc welding power sources and manipulators to build 3D shapes through arc deposition. This process commonly uses wire as a material source and follows a predetermined path to create the desired shape. This method of additive manufacture is usually performed using robotic welding equipment.”

The use of Flexible Welding Enclosures® during the Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing process has helped to keep an inert gas shield around the titanium and other reactive alloy components with special protective enclosures designed and manufactured by Weld Purging Experts Huntingdon Fusion Techniques HFT®.

Georgia Gascoyne, CEO for HFT® said: “We have built a large number of different shapes and sizes, mostly to customer specification. Each one has its own identity with a variety of glove ports and dimensions. Some can accommodate a complete robot system internally. They are in use worldwide for applications including the aerospace, medical and motorsport sectors.”

“Inert gas such as argon is used to fill the enclosure and expel the air until the oxygen content is below 50 parts per million (ppm). It is essential when producing metallic components from alloys of titanium, zirconium and other reactive materials that the welding zone is purged of oxygen to a level lower than 50 ppm.”

HFT®’s Flexible Welding Enclosures® provide a solution where a rigid chamber may not be economically viable or where space may be at a premium.

Luke Keane, Technical Support at HFT® said: “For many years the enormous cost of a metal enclosure prevented all but the major companies taking on work involving the fabrication of zirconium and titanium alloys. To the rescue came HFT® a decade or so ago with the introduction of purpose made Flexible Welding Enclosures®.”

The enclosures are manufactured with a number of glove ports. The upper half of the enclosure is made of optically clear ultra-violet resistant engineering grade pvc, providing excellent vision. Transfer sleeves makes it possible to pass small parts in or out of the enclosure without affecting the purge quality.

Operator comfort and ease of use with Argweld® Flexible Welding Enclosures® when compared with rigid chambers, make the HFT® versions a big hit with welding personnel.

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