Melbourne, 25 January 2022: The Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) and ASX-listed metal additive manufacturing company AML3D have concluded their research and development (R&D) project with the commercialisation of a novel welding high-strength aluminium wire feedstock for welding and 3D printing applications.
Further work will be undertaken by AML3D, including testing to industry standards as they work towards a commercialisation pathway.
Developed in collaboration with Deakin University’s Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM), the wire is set to transform the way complex metal objects are manufactured. Commencing in 2021, the project was born from AML3D’s need for a high-strength aluminium welding wire to use in 3D printing that required minimal or no heat treatment post-manufacture.
“Our patented Wire Additive Manufacturing (WAM®) 3D metal printing process can produce medium to large objects. However, the aluminium alloys we currently use require up to 24 hours of heat treatment to reach optimum strength, which can be costly and creates some logistical challenges,” said Andy Sales, ALM3D’s Executive Director and Chief Technical Officer.
“Through our partnership with IFM and IMCRC, we’ve developed a cost-effective, high-strength aluminium alloy wire that requires just 30 minutes of heat treatment once printed. When used with our WAM® technology, this wire has the potential to create additional applications across industries like shipbuilding and aviation further disrupting traditional manufacturing processes.
“By supporting the project and facilitating the introduction to IFM, IMCRC has helped change the trajectory of our business, expanding our potential customer base and creating further opportunities to innovate through R&D.”
Thomas Dorin, the Senior Research Fellow at IFM, said, “We were pleased to work with AML3D and IMCRC on this ambitious project, which encompassed over 20 different compositions and iterations. Our chosen alloy, a mixture of aluminium, magnesium and scandium, has recently been patented, and we’ve also commenced commercial production.”
“The project’s next phase involves printing products to demonstrate the wire’s potential applications. We’ll then work with AML3D to show shipbuilders how they can print directly at the shipyard, which is an effective way to reduce material waste and streamline logistics.”
IMCRC’s CEO and Managing Director, David Chuter said, “We’re pleased the project outcomes have solved a real-world challenge for AML3D and the 3D printing industry more broadly.
“By creating an alternative to traditional processes like substractive manufacturing, AML3D has the potential to catalyse a step-change for industry and encourage the adoption of more innovative manufacturing techniques.
“Making the manufacture of metal parts more efficient, cost-effective and timely is critical to helping Australia’s manufacturing sector become more competitive and attractive, which will encourage customers to bring production onshore.”
IMCRC is an independent and for-impact cooperative research centre with a successful, proven and scalable model for catalysing research and business partnerships that drive transformative commercial outcomes for participating Australian manufacturers. IMCRC has successfully coinvested in 71 R&D projects, catalysing more than $250 million in transformative manufacturing research. More information is available at www.imcrc.org/.
AML3D combines a deep understanding of state-of-the-art welding science, robotics automation, materials engineering and proprietary software to produce an automated 3D printing system operating in a freeform environment. This enables fast and efficient manufacture of components and structures using its patented Wire Additive Manufacturing (WAM®) process, which is more cost-effective and has increased strength compared to traditional casting, forging or billet machining methods.