Wire-laser Additive Manufacturing (WLAM) offers the capability of a wire-laser system to fabricate near net shaped additively manufactured components. WLAM is described by researchers as ‘a technology in which 3D components are built by continuously feeding a wire into a melt pool generated by a laser beam. This process enables costs and time-saving in comparison with traditional methods, which include either precision castings or machining from oversized forgings, through substantially reduced material waste and lead times Fully dense components can be produced at high deposition rate. The high power density and flexibility of lasers enables sufficient control to build medium to small features with near-net shape characteristics, thus enabling further cost savings as well as increased design freedom.’
So far, research has shown the method offers good process control to ensure stable deposition and predictable characteristics of the deposit as the quality of the part is affected by the process dynamics, which consist of the laser-material interaction and wire transfer mode.
One of the most important benefits of using a laser is the ability to independently control the height or width of deposited layers, which is mainly determined by the beam size, power density, and wire feeding rate.