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How to select a 3D metal printing technology
Apr 29, 2016

Additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, to 21st century manufacturing revolutionary gestures play for the first time, and reduced from a blank to remove excess material manufacturing method, metal AM with one layer at a way to create functional final products or product features. This stacking method is less manufacturing method provides many advantages, including increased flexibility, improved the final product performance, reduce time to market, lower manufacturing costs, and extended product life. These advantages drive AM technology is widely used in the life cycle of the product, new product development, at least in manufacturing, to repair the product.

Use powder metal AM, new products can take advantage of reduced manufacturing methods is difficult or impossible to achieve material properties and geometry. New material can be made by mixing two or more powder to form a new alloys and compounds produced to meet specific design challenges. Combination of powder can even build gradually in the process of change, to establish a functional classification of materials, to avoid corrosion, fatigue, fracture and stress cracking.

In addition, AM technology can be used for 3D printed metal parts with an internal cavity, for example, the cooling channel. AM method can also manufacture parts with excellent mechanical properties. The European Aeronautic Defence and space company (EADS) to a high-cycle fatigue test program to assess the Optomec LENS properties of titanium samples of 3D printing mechanism. Mechanical properties of the samples are usually the same as forging EADS found metals and fatigue properties in accordance with aerospace standards. Multiple agencies to test the other LENS 3D printed metal, including stainless steel and Super alloys, such as nickel (Inconel).

Traditional method of reducing manufacturing typically involves a section of steps and the associated demand for capital equipment and logistics, and AM single continuous steps to obtain the component or product characteristics of ontology, thus lowering the number and cycle time and cost saving as a whole. Also, because AM law-d CAD model direct drive, without the use of tools for prototyping or manufacturing, so can further reduce the cost and time to market of new designs or design revision. In addition, the AM method in needed areas sink replacement materials, so you can reduce waste. This material on using high value (for example, titanium and Super alloys) are particularly important, because attached particular importance to the effective use of material in this area.

Aerospace industry with BTF (Buy-To-Fly) rate defined material efficiency, its ratio of embryo weight for raw wool to finished weight of parts. According to Heavenly knowledge, using the traditional method of reducing manufacturing, aircraft engine makers say simple parts 85% to material waste, and complex parts material waste is even 95%, so AM aircraft engine manufacturers save material you want to use for producing these high-value components. Some companies even AM law mixed with reduced manufacturing method and manufacturing method in order to make full use of the advantages of each method, for example, the time needed for construction stainless steel electronic shell, 52 week tradition by casting down to 3 weeks AM law.

AM also used to extend the product life and repair damage to the active components, for example, is located in the United States Anniston Army Depot in Alabama using AM technology repair engine components of the Abrams M1 tanks, M1 tank engines (for example, Honeywell AGT1500) work in a desert environment, so will experience extreme wear, and require a short maintenance period. Because distortion effects caused by high temperature welding process, makes it difficult for AGT1500 engine components repair of traditional methods, if the AM method is used to repair, highly focused laser light energy and powder metal accurately sent to the area to be repaired, you can reduce the heat-affected zone (Heat Affected Zone,HAZ), and can repair the engine components.

Repair of turbine engine components are usually subjected to wear and tear damage to the wing area (for example, tip) or areas that are not effective fatigue loading (for example compressor blade leading edge area). Because component design trends move toward integrated blade rotor (Integrally-Bladed-Rotors,IBRs) or the rotor disk (Blisks, or Blade/disk), in order to reduce weight and improve engine efficiency, the repair of these components into major issues. In a traditional disk, if the turntable (Stage) of a blade is damaged or worn, it can be replaced at reasonable prices.