Welding of aircraft engine components has been taking place for many years, but a number of developments - including arc welding productivity and quality, fibre laser welding efficiency and size, linear friction welding machine size and accuracy, and laser additive manufacture quality - have led to exciting opportunities for the manufacture of components.
Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, including the high-frequency pulsed variant of the process, and keyhole plasma welding have been used to manufacture aircraft engine parts for many years. Reduced spatter metal inert gas (MIG) welding is also being investigated by the industry.
The growth of ytterbium (Yb) fibre lasers in recent years has radically changed the welding industry, with increased efficiency and extended beam time. The development of advanced electron beam deflection and probing techniques has also led to processing advantages.
LFW is an established niche technology applied by world-leading gas turbine aircraft engine manufacturers to fabricate bladed disk (blisk) assemblies.
LMD - also commonly known as direct metal laser deposition (DMLD), direct laser deposition (DLD) and direct metal deposition (DMD) - uses a laser to create melt pool at the metal surface during which metal or ceramic powder is delivered via a nozzle into the melt pool to build up a three-dimensional geometry.
Selective laser melting (SLM) uses a powder bed approach in which a focused beam selectively fuses powdered material, pre-placed in the build platform, by scanning cross-sections generated from a 3D CAD model of the part on the surface of a powder bed.
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