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Automated Quality Control of wire arc DED build for Smart manufacturing

Project Code: 35253

Start date and planned duration: January 2023, 30 months


  • Develop a data capture and extraction workflow for process parameter monitoring.
  • Improve the existing in-situ inspection system using PAUT, including the interface between the wire arc DED build and substrate and the ultrasonic probe device, and the correction methods for generating high quality A-scan data at high and transient temperatures.
  • Extend the application of the ultrasonic system to multilayer builds and complex geometry.
  • Establish quality level thresholds for accepting or rejecting data coming from the in-process and in-situ systems.
  • Develop an algorithm that collects and synchronises the in-process monitoring and in-situ inspection data.

Project Outline

Wire arc Directed Energy Deposition (DED), also known as wire arc additive manufacturing, is an additive manufacturing process that is gaining popularity in the production of large complex metal components. Wire arc DED technology presents many advantages; cost saving compared to conventional manufacturing methods, such as machining from solid billet, by achieving a significant reduction of material wastage and an increase in time efficiency. Wire arc DED also enables design freedom and can incorporate geometrical features that are not possible to manufacture via conventional means. The process also enables design flexibility and can adapt more easily than conventional manufacturing processes to changing geometrical requirements.

Process reliability and control is crucial for widespread use of wire arc DED in industry. Although process parameters can be optimised via trial and error and the properties of the build can be verified via destructive testing (similar to a weld procedure qualification), this approach is not well suited to an agile on-demand, on-site requirement. Therefore, there is a need to create methods for ensuring process reliability during the wire arc DED build.

This CRP project proposes to build on the knowledge, available from ongoing programmes in TWI to improve the quality and applicability of AM parts, to push the limits of the process parameters and propose tools for applying NDE inspection and monitoring for automated quality control of wire arc DED.


Industry Sectors

-        Power

-       Surface Transport

-        Aerospace

-        Oil and Gas


Benefits to Industry

  • Increased understanding of materials, processes and on-line monitoring and inspection surrounding AM, but also market leading knowledge and understanding of how these processes could be utilised and reverse engineered into other, more conventional processes.
  • Manufacture and availability of high impact information and physical samples relating to AM, to be used at TWI.
  • Identification of key research questions in the larger AM, welding, joining, materials and testing research landscape and providing a validated framework for follow on work which is industrially and scientifically valid.
  • The output of this programme is to improve quality and applicability of AM parts by generating information to bring the automated digital AM vision one step closer. The ability to create high quality parts with consistent and predictable qualities and to monitor the manufacturing process online reduces post-process inspection burden, thus making AM more cost and quality effective. Additionally, AM can be considered for high value applications where AM is not currently considered suitable.
  • There is also added potential for cost saving, quality improvement, or increased productivity through reverse engineering of extended capabilities into existing manufacturing streams.




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