What is WAAM?

WAAM! At first glance, you’d probably think it’s the description in a cartoon drawing of someone slamming the door! ‘Slam’ is not that far off really, because WAAM is responsible for slam-dunk solutions in the steel industry.

You, your children, and their children’s children need to know what WAAM is. So, be prepared to be blown away by this futuristic technique that is turning heads all over the world.

What WAAM is and What it Does

First up, WAAM is the acronym for Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing. Patented in 1920, the big surprise is that WAAM is not new. Using a careful selection of wire feedstock in semi-automated welding for precision metal parts had been happening for decades.

In particular, the aerospace industry has led the charge in producing WAAM metal parts at a fraction of the time and costs involved in traditional fabrication.

Today, however, WAAM, also called DED-arc (Directed Energy Deposition), now produces robotic-driven components from start to finish. We recently wrote about the vital role of robotics in steel fabrication, which is well worth another read.

The arrival of CAD/CAM (Computer-Aided Design/Manufacturing) has enabled forward thinkers like Elon Musk, to develop high-end applications in the AM (Additive Manufacturing) process (a.k.a. 3D printing).

WAAM Takes Man to Mars

Musk’s SpaceX company used metal DED-arc/WAAM technologies to construct the entire Super Heavy booster rocket. The Super Heavy will assist with the initial thrust of all the 100 Starships planned for Mars, returning to Earth after each launch.

It’s no secret that SpaceX is well ahead of the curve in the use of WAAM technology. Companies the world over have taken note. In 2021 a magnificent example of what WAAM can do spans an Amsterdam canal in the form of a bright, shiny, metal bridge.

Why use WAAM?

Metal parts, new or replacements are needed by endless industries. Among the top 5 applications, you will find WAAM being used to:

  1. Repair dyes and moulds
  2. Repurpose metal parts in situ
  3. Produce large metal parts with speed
  4. Make or remake heavy industry parts
  5. Create one-off, one-of-a-kind metal features

If you’d like to know more about Steelmor’s fabrication works, get in touch with our team for friendly, professional assistance.