WIRE ARC ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING IN STEEL FOUNDRIES

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Date

2023

Authors

Weflen, E.D.
Frank, M.C.
Peters, F.E.

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Publisher

University of Texas at Austin

Abstract

This work presents the system design of a robotic hybrid additive and subtractive manufacturing system for steel foundries to reduce supply chain disruptions caused by a skilled labor shortage and harsh working conditions. Automation promises to ease the labor shortage but falls short in environments with high variation and ambiguous decision-making. These challenges were overcome by leveraging human adaptability and uncertainty in decision-making, paired with automation conducting repetitive tasks in harsh environments. Documenting the existing process revealed the current welding approach for removing and refilling metalcasting production anomalies. Tasks were divided into those suited for automation and those best suited for a human operator. The operator continues to identify and remove anomalies while sensing and robotics automate weld preparation by machining, refilling using Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM), and surface blending by grinding. This research serves as a case study for integrating hybrid manufacturing into production environments.

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