Active since 1988 in tooling engineering & manufacturing, Loiretech started its 4.0 industry transition in 2018, focusing on two different activities:
· MES (Manufacturing Execution System) : real-time production management
· Additive technologies: implementation of new additive manufacturing technics through innovative projects (FARAMIR & INTEGRADDE)
Recognized as an innovative company, Loiretech has been awarded at JEC shows in 2016 and 2018.
Loiretech is improving support customer processes evolution, by implementing new manufacturing technologies and developing composite products.
To improve its technical & economic efficiency, Loiretech entered two collaborative projects dedicated to WAAM (Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing):
· ARWEN managed IRT Jules Verne, France
· INTEGRADDE managed by AIMEN, Spain
In the INTEGRADDE project, Loiretech is developing a pilot line to manufacture Invar shells and composite parts. This manufacturing pilot line will be unique: according to Loiretech patent, shape is divided in several simple elements. These elements are held by a robot during welding sequence performed by - another robot. Difficult geometries are being manufactured via pure additive manufacturing.
As targeted components are large (up to 4000 x 3000 x 2000 mm), the above-mentioned manufacturing process is way more efficient than additive manufacturing.
Many partners are contributing to the creating of the pilot line from scratch: University WEST for micro scale simulation, IRT Jules Verne for macro scale simulation, ESI for FEM calculation for distortion, University of Coimbra for path planning correction and DGH for pilot line design.
Progresses in the activities from all the partners shall allow Loiretech to engage its first purchase in September 2020. Everything planned will be set and ready for real testing during the first semester of 2021.
The WAAM technology will bring more reliability caused by the improvements in the welding processes:
· A CNC positioner will warranty the horizontal welding path to avoid pores
· Consistency in welding is ensured by the link between simulation, robotization and feeding equipment
The automatization of the welding process doesn’t mean the end of the manual operations, in fact, the gains in performance (15% cost saving, 15% time saving) will allow Loiretech to grow its business in this Invar tooling area. So, as the INTEGRADDE pilot line will not be covering 100% of welding needs, and as WAAM line will need some supervision from advanced trained workers, the existing team is planned to be expended.