August 11, 2021
The first Steel Hub II project kicks off
The Steel Research Hub is excited to announce the first of its 30+ projects, with the start of a collaborative PhD-based project between the University of Wollongong and Bisalloy Steels, focused on the additive manufacturing of welded overlay.
Bisalloy Steels (Bisalloy) is Australia's only manufacturer of high-tensile, abrasion-resistant Quenched and Tempered (Q&T) steel plates used for armour, structural, and wear-resistant steel applications. From its base in Unanderra, south of Sydney in NSW, Bisalloy manufactures these products through a highly efficient, continuous flow process and has earned an outstanding reputation for the quality of its products and technical backup within a highly competitive global marketplace.
The Project (2.1.6) will investigate and trial automated/robotic wire arc additive manufacturing to fabricate welded hard-facing overlay on Q&T steels. The Project Team, consisting of UOW’s Project Leader Professor Huijun Li and Associate Professor Zengxi (Stephen) Pan, and Bisalloy’s Technical and R&D Manager Dr Dake Yu and Technical Manager (Armour) Dr Willy Pang, bring together significant experience in advanced steel-related research and industrial research experience related to Q&T product development. They will jointly supervise and train a new PhD candidate.
Hard-facing is a process where one or multiple layers of different materials, with unique properties, are deposited on the base metal to significantly improve its surface performance, such as wear and corrosion resistance, or to repair the worn components. In industrial sectors, equipment is routinely subjected to extreme working conditions such as severe wear, impact, and high temperature, which requires component materials with enhanced performance. However, it is not efficient to manufacture the entire component with these more costly materials. Hard-facing enables a superior price-performance manufacturing process by depositing hard-facing consumable materials on surfaces or in critical positions of the less expensive base material.
Through experimental design and trials, Project (2.1.6) will develop an optimised methodology for high hardness (wear) and toughness (impact, blast) of welded overlay which has significantly improved performance. It will then focus on the development of an automated hard-facing solution for which a robot operator can easily program and which does not require a high level of welding skill and knowledge.
For steel consumers, the benefit is a product with improved performance while also having the potential to reduce maintenance, repair, and operational costs via prolonged service life, due to the ability to repair and restore components via hard-facing overlay.
For Bisalloy, the anticipated outcome of this research is the potential to appreciably improve market share, product quality and reputation through technology development, which will ultimately enhance Bisalloy’s competitiveness in the international market. Sophisticated automated processes will also enable a higher level of product quality consistency, reduced labour, and improved health/safety environment for operators.
The Steel Research Hub is excited to be up and running and to have its first project underway. Further, the Hub and the University of Wollongong is thrilled to continue the long-standing collaborative relationship with our local industry partner, Bisalloy Steels.