France’s Prodways Group, a subsidiary of Groupe Gorgé, presented its new rapid additive forging (RAF) technology for the 3D metal printing of large titanium parts. RAF technology uses a distinctive metal deposition technology focusing on the metallurgical quality and repeatability of the process. The first metallurgical tests conducted on different parts revealed an absence of porosity and greater mechanical resistance compared with usual 3D metal-printing techniques using laser or electron-beam sintering. The process, which has been tested on various metals, is used to print titanium.
RAF Technology was developed in collaboration with Commercy Robotique, a subsidiary of Groupe Gorgé that specializes in robotized welding. The 3D printer developed uses a robot equipped with a head depositing molten metal in an atmosphere of inert gas. The metal is deposited layer-by-layer, and the large part is completed within a few hours. RAF technology quickly manufactures titanium blanks with very similar geometry compared with the final part. These blanks are then finish-machined. The third generation of the prototype is able to produce parts more than 70 cm (27.5 inches) in size.