Wire-feed additive manufacturing of metal components: technologies, developments and future interests
Wire-feed additive manufacturing (AM) is a promising alternative to traditional subtractive manufacturing for fabricating large expensive metal components with complex geometry. The current research focus on wire-feed AM is trying to produce complex-shaped functional metal components with good geometry accuracy, surface finish and material property to meet the demanding requirements from aerospace, automotive and rapid tooling industry. Wire-feed AM processes generally involve high residual stresses and distortions due to the excessive heat input and high deposition rate. The influences of process conditions, such as energy input, wire-feed rate, welding speed, deposition pattern and deposition sequences, etc., on thermal history and resultant residual stresses of AM processed components needs to be further understood. In addition, poor accuracy and surface finish of the process limit the applications of wire-feed AM technology. In this paper, after an introduction of variou swire-feed AM technologies and its characteristics, an in depth review of various process aspects of wire-feed AM, including quality and accuracy of wire-feed AM processed components, will be presented. The overall objective is to identify the current challenges for wire-feed AM as well as point out the future research direction.