Additive manufacturing (AM) has rapidly evolved since its inception, and investment in AM technology has flourished in both the public and private sectors. This article, the second and final in this series, illustrates some appropriate applications that have already affected or could affect forging processes and markets.
In Part 1 of this article, I drew on the notion of time travel from the 1985 movie Back to the Future to explore the accuracy of predictions made in my article from the August 2012 issue of FORGE. Without the fictional flux capacitor, which enabled time travel in the DeLorean time machine used in the movie, we will continue this analysis of the predictions regarding AM prototyping and forging and AM short-run production and forging.
Additive manufacturing (AM) has rapidly evolved since its inception, and investment in AM technology has flourished in both the public and private sectors. This article, the first of two parts, evaluates predictions made in FORGE in 2012 and illustrates some appropriate applications that could affect (or already have affected) forging processes and markets.
Sheffield Forgemasters is devoting its 3D-printing facility to help protect vulnerable, frontline national health service (NHS) workers and assist in the U.K.'s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The company’s Research, Design and Technology (RD&T) department has started to produce 3D-printed components for protective visors used by NHS staff. The initiative coincides with the request of the mayor of the Sheffield City Region for South Yorkshire businesses to join the national effort and help make life-saving medical equipment during the pandemic. RD&T uses its 3D-printing output to produce models and prototypes for ultra-large, complex steel components, but – with the ability to 3D-print the visor components – the business is more than happy to play its part in assisting the fight against the pandemic.
Siemens and Materials Solutions opened a highly advanced metal AM innovation center in Orlando, Fla. The 17,000-square-foot facility offers a pairing of design with manufacturing, implementing robotics, rapid prototyping, scanning, digital tools and on-site metal AM. Materials Solutions – a Siemens Business – uses selective laser melting (SLM) technology for the manufacture of high-performance metal parts, with a focus on high-temperature superalloys. The Siemens innovation center will focus on rapid problem solving supporting the company’s energy businesses, while Materials Solutions will offer additive services to support the innovation center and external customers.
HRE Wheels and GE Additive unveiled the first titanium wheel created using electron-beam melting (EBM) technology, a type of 3D printing. With a traditional aluminum Monoblok wheel, 80% of material is removed from a 100-pound forged block of aluminum to create the final product. With additive manufacturing, only 5% of the material is removed and recycled, making the process far more efficient. Titanium also has a much higher specific strength than aluminum and is corrosion resistant, allowing it to be extremely lightweight. Known as HRE3D+, this new prototype wheel shows how advanced materials like titanium can be harnessed to create complex designs. The wheel was produced on two Arcam EBM machines in five separate sections then combined using a custom center section and titanium fasteners.
Germany’s SMS group won the German Design Award in the “Industry” category for an additively manufactured spray head used to cool dies in the forging industry. The award recognizes innovative products and projects and the companies or individuals who have fabricated and designed them. In this case, it was not only the spray-head component that was noteworthy, but also that additive-manufacturing (AM) techniques were used to produce the part.
Metal 3D printing, or additive manufacturing (AM), is an advanced manufacturing method that opens up new possibilities for designing objects with optimized geometries and minimized weight using far less material and energy – important drivers for a future sustainable, energy-efficient industrial base.
Arconic announced a multi-year cooperative research agreement with Airbus to advance metal 3D printing for aircraft manufacturing. The companies will develop customized processes and parameters to produce and qualify large, structural 3D-printed components, such as pylon spars and rib structures, up to approximately 3 feet in length. The deal combines Arconic’s expertise in metal additive manufacturing and metallurgy with Airbus’ design and qualification capabilities.