Lincoln Electric bolsters manufacturing skills

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Mark Douglass, business development manager for LAS, said a quick turnaround can be critical for a customer who has to shut down a production line because they need a spare part whose manufacturer has been around for a long time. long bankrupt.

“If a customer says, ‘I need this part of the factory back up and running in four weeks,’ casting could take 10 weeks (to manufacture and ship from Asia),” Douglass said. “So they can get it now in less than a week.”

The LAS product could also be cheaper, because to create a part in the traditional way, a mold or cast must first be made, before the part can be created.

Douglass said another advantage of additive manufacturing over traditional methods is that castings often have excess material that needs to be cut. It gets expensive when that scrap is stainless steel, titanium, or some other expensive material. WAAM builds a part without additional material.

“So if you have a big piece of machine that’s steel or iron, the ability to just 3D print it using a robot, rather than going through all the steps that a foundry would require, is is very appealing,” Zelinski said.

Zelinski said very often large castings come from overseas, raising supply chain issues, which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“If you could change your supply chain now, so that they 3D print this in Cleveland, instead of crossing an ocean, that’s huge,” he said. “It’s not just COVID, it’s just long-term supply chain issues. So, long-term, COVID will likely help additive manufacturing.”

Lincoln thinks the same way. Douglass said Lincoln plans to build regional print centers across the United States and around the world.

“Look at the supply chain issues,” he said. “Do we want to print a part in Cleveland that (will be sent) to Singapore? No. We will digitally send the file (computer design) to Singapore and you can print the same part there, because they will have the same equipment, same cable .”

Zelinski said that eventually the business may change as manufacturers see the opportunity to do this work themselves. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing for Lincoln, since it owns the welding equipment, the robots, and the software.

“The way forward would be for manufacturers like Caterpillar (Inc.) or John Deere (& Co.) or appliance manufacturers or car manufacturers in some cases to find more and more applications for this and start to buy some of these robotic systems from Lincoln Electric, and take (the work) in-house,” Zelinski said.


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