The foundry industry is suffering from the decline in production in the automotive industry and the resulting lower demand for metal components. Does this development affect additive manufacturing (AM) processes? This interview with Tina Johnscher, project manager for AM at Germany’s Bayern Innovtiv GmbH, sheds light on the subject.
“The current crisis situation is rather a driver for additive manufacturing,” says Johnscher. “By using this technology, even smaller quantities can be produced economically--either directly or through additive manufactured tools - which ideally take up lightweight design aspects and thus simplify the retooling of casting systems.”
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Velo3D announced plans to launch its next-generation Sapphire industrial 3D metal printer with a 1-m vertical axis, and will ship the machine—touted as the world’s tallest 3D metal printer--in Q4 2020 to precision-tool and component manufacturer Knust-Godwin. Knust-Godwin, Katy, TX, will use the printer to produce parts for an oil and gas industry application currently manufactured using more than five subtractive processes.
“There tends to be a tradeoff between large-format additive machines and part quality,” states Mike Corliss, vice president of technology at Knust-Godwin. “We have confidence that we’ll be able to build mission-critical industrial parts without compromises made to part quality.”
The meter-tall Sapphire printer boasts a 315-mm-dia. build plate, dual 1-kW lasers and in-situ optical calibration.
Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Aviation, the Air Force and General Electric signed a contract on March 17, 2020, to construct and evaluate an engine part for airworthiness produced using AM. Says DLA Aviation Commander Air Force Brig. Gen. David Sanford, “This is an exciting initiative and has the potential to advance the use of AM in engine sustainment, improving readiness short- and long-term for engines, but more importantly, to improve confidence in AM technologies that may lead to expansion in other areas.”
The part under evaluation: a sump pump cover used on General Electric’s F110 and F118 engines, which account for some 1000 Air Force engines and power the F-15 and F-16 fighter aircraft, and the B-2 bomber.
“The sump cover was a great design. It’s been working for over 30 years,” says Leonard Hayes, program manager for Technology Insertion in the Air Force’s Propulsion Directorate. “Unfortunately, when you haven’t ordered any new parts in a long time, no one is making new ones. Now that we need some, they are very hard to get. It doesn’t make a very good long-term business case for industry to keep using traditional processes to support our small and aging fleets of USAF weapon systems.”
Australian metal-AM technology developer Titomic has received a purchase order from Airbus to provide demonstrator parts manufactured using its cold-spray Titomic Kinetic Fusion (TKF) process. “TKF technology is perfectly suited to produce neat-net shape metal parts for the aerospace industry,” says Titomic managing director Jeff Lang, “using our patented process of fusing dissimilar metals that cannot be produced with either traditional fabrication methods or metal melt-based 3D printers.”
For AM parts, according to the Titomic website, the TKF process begins
by accelerating metal particles to supersonic speeds by injecting them
into a jetstream. The particles exit the spray nozzle and, upon
colliding with the surface, they plastically deform, sticking to the
surface and each other. The build-up of these particles rapidly develops
into near-net-shape metal parts.
Learn more from this brief video filmed at formnext 2019.