Subtractive and Additive Manufacturing in one machine
05/28/2020

Together with Hüttmann Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH, LZH is planning to combine additive and conventional machining processes in one system.

In a new project, the partners Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and Hüttmann Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH are combining wire-based Additive Manufacturing with subtractive machining. For this purpose, the partners are equipping a milling machine with a laser system. The integrated laser head shall be automatically replaceable like other tools. By combining the additive and subtractive processes, the components can be completely finished in a single machine. Setups between the work steps are no longer necessary.

Repairing capital goods

This is relevant not only for new components, but also for the repair of capital goods. With the system to be developed, the damaged area can be removed and filled by deposition welding. Finally, the exact geometry is restored by milling.

Combination of milling spindle and laser wire processing head

To implement the new manufacturing machine, the two partners are equipping a high-speed milling machine with a laser processing head for wire-based additive manufacturing. The head is connected to a hot wire conveyor and a laser beam source and can be replaced as a tool. Due to the coaxial structure of the wire and laser beam, the processing head enables direction-independent deposition welding. Since laser processes are subject to the hazards of laser radiation, the housing of the system is also adapted and designed to be laser safe. The control technology is also being revised so that the additional tool can be controlled reliably.

Fields of application of the additive-subtractive production machine

For industry, the combined processes are particularly interesting for mould and tool making. They allow the manufacturing of complex structures, such as cooling channels or undercuts, which would not be possible with conventional methods. In addition, it is possible to repair high-quality capital goods such as press and stamping tools, moulds or dies using the hybrid process.

The project "Development of a hybrid high-speed manufacturing system: Laser Wire Deposition Welding and HSC Milling in one machine environment" is carried out in cooperation with the Lower Saxon SME Hüttmann Werkzeugmaschinen GmbH and is funded by the NBank through the European Regional Development Fund.