- Additive manufacturing
- Analysis & Instrumentation
- Cleaning, Polishing & Grinding
- Cryogenic Preservation
- Fish Farming
- Freezing & Cooling
- Gas Installations
- Modified & Controlled Atmospheres
- Melting & Heating
- Moulding, Foaming, Forming & Extrusion
- Petrochemical Processing & Refining
- Pharma & Biotechnology
- Process Chemistry
- Pulp & Paper Making
- Water Treatment
- Welding Related Processes
The wire arc AM process
As in standard MIG/MAG welding, metal wire is added as the electrode melts in the arc and its droplets form layers on the substrate. Processes with lower heat input, such as controlled short-circuit metal transfer, are preferred given the heat sensitivity of most materials used in additive manufacturing. Shielding gases protect the layers against ambient air.
Advantages of arc and plasma additive manufacturing
- With no complex tooling or equipment needed, investment costs are low.
- The end-product benefits from greater structural integrity and less distortion.
- Ability to produce lightweight components from costly materials like aluminium and titanium without material waste makes arc and plasma additive manufacturing interesting for many industries, in particular for aerospace, automotive or medical.
- More cost effective than other additive manufacturing processes like laser beam welding and electron beam welding.
Shielding gases in arc and plasma additive manufacturing processes
Air, hydrocarbons and moisture will lead to distortion. To avoid the chemical reaction experienced by heated metal when in contact with elements like oxygen and nitrogen, gases are applied to protect the hot substrate against the ambient atmosphere. This protective shield of gas ensures that the quality of the weld joint is not marred by the chemical reaction. The metallurgical properties of the component are maintained or in some cases even improved when deoxidisers are added to the weld.
Tried-and tested MIG/MAG welding gases help improve mechanical properties
Argon, helium and mixtures of both are the preferred process gases for MIG/MAG welding and plasma additive manufacturing. Active components such as CO2, O2, N2 or H2 can be added to fine-tune material properties. With its long-standing expertise in all welding, cutting, heating and surfacing applications, AGA can help you choose the right gases and mixtures for your arc and plasma additive manufacturing projects. We deliver a range of tried-and-tested MIG/MAG welding gases under our ARGOSHIELD, PURESHIELD, SPECSHIELD and STAINSHIELD products. These mixes have been designed to enable you to combine the benefits of automatic welding, which include continuity, speed, comparative freedom from distortion and reliability, with the versatility and control of manual welding.
AGA solutions for arc processes at a glance:
- Argon and helium gas supply – design, provision and installation
- Active gas supply – gases mixed in advance or on-site satisfying specific process demands
- Plasma gases – required to generate the plasma
- On-site support – process and/or technical support
- On-stream gas system – design and maintenance services
- Gas safety – equipment, safety checks and training