Page 10 - Wire Rope News & Sling Technology - February 2019
P. 10

printing technology.
                                              In about 1984 an image of Benjamin
                                            Franklin that was taken in Cambridge,
                                            England was then delivered to a labo-
                                            ratory in Massachusetts. There it was
                                            processed into an early version 3D
                                            Computer-Aided  Design (CAD) “digi-
                                            tal file” which was then loaded into a
                                            “molding printer”  where  it started to
                                            duplicate a bust of Ben as a plastic rep-
                                            lica.  Wow!  The  method demonstrated
                                            how the digital age could affect the en-
                                            tire world in an instant, for better or
                                            worse. Of course,  whether it’s for the
                                            “better or worse” depends on the posi-
         Fig. 4. A cast and machined duplex hook.
                                            tion from where you are starting.
         continued from page 8                Digital 3D technology involves
         process of manufacturing crane     turning  a  message  or  a  form  of  com-
         hooks, the WAAM method. This pro-  munication  between  two machines
         cess forms a hook layer on layer. The   into  a  binary  code,  two  parts.  These
         method is similar to that of 3D print-  parts, “0” and “1,” correspond to “pow-  Fig. 5. Bowl-shaped hook.
         ing, as discussed below. I thought it   er  on”  or  power  off”  electrically,  and
         was a neat idea for some applications,   are the resources of the programmer’s   Making things that are cheaper and
         but, for a crane’s load hook, I have   language. They are precise and fast,   still perform well is called “produc-
         some questions.                    and size is no problem. One machine   tivity”  improvement.  The  higher  pro-
           The WAAM process of manufacturing   (computer) digitally tells another (arc   ductivity of a nation allows it to earn
         is in some sense, special. The directions   welder) what to do! If the computer   more  money  for  investment  in  yet
         to the robot wheeling  the arc welder   gets digital feedback from the welder   more  efficient  processes,  thereby  en-
         are in three steps. The actual layering   about  what’s  going  on,  and  the  com-  abling it to contend well in the world’s
         process of the hook utilizes the arc and   puter compares the progress with   marketplace.  Go  into  a  Walmart  and
         wire feed welding process which is hot-  specifications  stored  in  its  program   try  finding  something  that  wasn’t
         ter (10,000  to 20,000  degrees C) than   about  the  welder’s  assumed  achieve-  made China. There are three ways to
         carbon arc or laser to build up the hook.   ments and realizes it’s making errors,   increase productivity – work longer,
         Stronger materials are used in WAAM   it can react. Then necessary changes   work harder, or use better tools and
         manufacturing. (fig. 6)            are made to return to programmed   ideas. Digitization makes better tools
                                            limits. The computer sends up-dated   and will lead the world!
         How does 3D technology work?       instructions  back  to  the welder  to   The process:  If you  were  to  type a
           The  process  of  building  up  steel   “shape up.” Well folks, that’s artificial   single  letter  on  paper using  a type-
         has been around for a while. In 1926,   intelligence (AI).            writer, you see that the letters sit on
         Baker patented the use of depositing   What does the new “digital era”   top of the page and are not stained into
         molten metal in superimposed lay-  mean to the average Joe (or Jane) in   it. If you type over the same spot with
         ers to build-up objects. We all have   their use of hooks? Say a person gets   different letters, the area would build-
         seen multi-passes on steel welds to   a good idea somewhere in the world of   up to form a three-dimensional object
         achieve the necessary strength in the   a way to make a hook less expensive   of a complex shape by the addition of
         structure. Welding, with its precision   than you are making it in, say, Toledo.   each printed letter, letter by letter. “3D
         process, made a  major impact on 3D   Nowadays  it  will  quickly  be  known.   Printing,”  as  the  process  technology
                                                                               was called, started about 1981 and is
                                                                               being performed today using these ba-
                                                                               sic steps and equipment. 3D started in
                                                                               a laboratory using poly-based plastics
                                                                               that used very complex and expensive
                                                                               machinery at a university. Thus, ideas
                                                                               about how and where to use the new
                                                                               technology  spread slowly  throughout
                                                                               the industry due to cost. The process
                                                                               was not only expensive, but the mate-
                                                                               rials used were not strong, so applica-
                                                                               tions were limited mostly to “gadgets.”
                                                                                 These steps were at first three sepa-
                                                                               rate functions  on different machines
                                                                               or even countries. Currently, all these
                                                                               functions are available in one low-cost
                                                                               unit suitable for the private-public
                                                                               to  experiment.  Three  major  machine
           Fig. 6. 3D duplex hook made in the WAAM process.                    improvements took place through  the
           Photo courtesy of The Huisman Company, Netherlands.                                  continued on page 12

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