Production of topology-optimised structural nodes using arc-based, additive manufacturing with GMAW welding process

The desire to generate a stress optimised structural node with maximum stability is often coupled with the goal of low manufacturing costs and an adapted and minimal use of material. The complex, three-dimensional free-form structures, which are created by means of topology-optimisation, are only partially suitable for conventional manufacturing. The wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM), by means of arc welding processes, offer a cost-effective and flexible possibility for the individual production of complex, metallic components. Gas metal arc welding (GMAW) is particularly suitable to produce large-volume, load-bearing structures due to build-up rates of up to 5 kg/h. The generation of strength and stiffness adapted support structures by means of the numerical simulation method of topology-optimisation was investigated in this study to generate topology-optimised structural nodes. The resulting node is transferred into a robot path using CAD/CAM software and manufactured from the filler material G4Si1 using WAAM with the GMAW process. Based on the boundary conditions of the WAAM process, the path planning and thus the manufacturability of the topology-optimised supporting structure nodes is evaluated and verified using a sample structure made of the welding filler material G4Si1. Depending on the path planning, an improvement of the mechanical properties could be achieved, due to changes in t8/5 times.


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