User Story MetalXL

University West (Sweden)

From design to print in one go

University West, located in Trollhättan, Sweden, has been a pioneering organization in research and development for metal additive manufacturing for 20 years now. After collaborating with MX3D on the Integradde European project since 2019, Kjell Hurtig, research engineer at the Division of Welding Technology, chose MetalXL to transform the lab’s ABB robot and Fronius welding machine into an industrial-grade 3D printer for Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing.

Initially, when University West started with robotic WAAM, the team was essentially focused on the science of the welding process, and printed metal coupons for various kinds of metallurgical and mechanical testing. Printing these kinds of geometries only required a few lines of manual coding. However, by gaining experience in this domain throughout the years, the team became a reference for WAAM in Scandinavia. As a result, they received industrial inquiries for the production of more complex shapes, which would require advanced software for toolpath planning and parameters setting for WAAM. After experimenting with different software packages, Mr. Hurtig and his team selected MetalXL due to its many advantages in terms of user-friendliness, strategy customization and advanced toolpath algorithms.

For example, when working on a robotic WAAM system without an external manipulator, overhang management is key to remain geometry freedom – one of the key advantages of the WAAM process.

“Thanks to MetalXL’s overhang management algorithms, we have been able to produce large dimensions thin walls with Inconel and nickel-based alloy thin, with up to 40 degrees angles without external manipulator” – Kjell Hurtig, University West

By adapting to both 6-axis and 6+2-axis setups, MetalXL is more flexible towards the customers’ system and needs. While the geometry capabilities are almost unlimited with an 8-axis system, a 6-axis system can be integrated with MetalXL also, allowing up to 45-degree angles.

Moreover, the advantage of MetalXL for Mr. Hurtig’s team research and projects has been the integrated metal alloy library. Based on MX3D’s print experience and R&D, we have built a printing parameters library in MetalXL for a large variety of metal alloys, including steels, stainless steel, duplex steel, copper-based alloys, and aluminium alloys, directly available to our customers. More than providing the team with the opportunity to print with several specific alloys, they have been using material templates as a basis to incorporate their own alloys into MetalXL. By fine-tuning existing parameter sets, the team has been able to print with various non-included wires, such as Invar, Inconel, metal-core steel wire, and even ran tests on Titanium alloys.

“By applying minor changes to the included 308L stainless-steel parameter set, we have been able to print Inconel with outstanding results” – Kjell Hurtig, University West

After extensive use of MetalXL for their WAAM projects and research, Mr. Hurtig and his team look forward to using MetalXL in the upcoming year for various research opportunities, new experimentation, and industrial applications.

Click these hyperlinks to learn more about AM Technology and Welding Technology at University West.

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