Micro-Plasma Transferred Arc Additive Manufacturing for Die and Mold Surface Remanufacturing
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Micro-plasma transferred arc (µPTA) additive manufacturing is one of the newest options for remanufacturing of dies and molds surfaces in the near-millimeter range leading to extended usage of the same. We deployed an automatic micro-plasma deposition setup to deposit a wire of 300 µm of AISI P20 tool steel on the substrate of same material for the potential application in remanufacturing of the die and mold surface. Our present research effort is to establish µPTA additive manufacturing as a viable economical and cleaner methodology for potential industrial applications. We undertook the optimization of single weld bead geometry as the first step in our present study. Bead-on-plate trials were conducted to deposit single bead geometry at various processing parameters. The bead geometry (shape and size) and dilution were measured and the parametric dependence was derived. A set of parameters leading to reproducible regular and smooth single bead geometry were identified and used to prepare a thin wall for mechanical testing. The deposits were subjected to material characterization such as microscopic studies, micro-hardness measurements and tensile testing. The process was compared qualitatively with other deposition processes involving high-energy density beams and was found to be advantageous in terms of low initial and running costs with comparable properties. The outcome of the study confirmed the process capability of µPTA deposition leading to deployment of cost-effective and environmentally friendlier technology for die and mold remanufacturing.
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