Sciaky Inc., a subsidiary of Phillips Service Industries (PSI) and a supplier of industrial metal 3D-printing solutions, received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) award from NASA. The objective of the SBIR is to enhance Sciaky’s electron-beam additive-manufacturing (EBAM) process with new machine-learning algorithms that automatically identify and eliminate defects with titanium (Ti-6Al-4V) 3D-printed parts and structures. The machine-learning algorithms will utilize Sciaky’s patented interlayer real-time imaging and sensing system (IRISS) to monitor titanium deposition, identify anomalies and fix them. These intuitive adaptive control features will help manufacturers deliver consistent results.
SSI Sintered Specialties invested in a high-temperature refractory metal-lined vacuum furnace from Elnik Systems to expand its services into powder-metallurgy processes. The furnace, which is scheduled for installation in September 2021, will join a growing fleet of new equipment at SSI’s technology center in Janesville, Wis. Along with providing customers advanced powder-metallurgy processing, this investment positions SSI to immediately target the addition of metal 3D printing to its portfolio and the expansion of its current metal injection molding (MIM) operations. The furnace will also allow SSI to develop sintering profiles for both technologies.
Materialise opened a new 3,500-square-meter Metal Competence Center for 3D printing in Bremen, Germany. The company invested approximately $9 million to construct the facility, which has the capacity for more than 30 industrial metal 3D printers and over 120 employees. Materialise previously operated two facilities focused on metal 3D printing in Bremen, including a software development and distribution center and industrial manufacturing center. The Metal Competence Center unites and expands Materialise’s metal 3D printing sites in Bremen under one roof to support integrated production and development. It will also enable increased collaboration between software development and manufacturing teams to better serve industrial customers around the world.
Wall Colmonoy has fully installed what it says is the first Desktop Metal Shop System in the United Kingdom. Using Desktop Metal’s binder-jet technology, Wall Colmonoy can now offer affordable and fast metal 3D printing of small to medium parts. The Shop System complements the offerings of Wall Colmonoy’s Precision Components business. The division, based in Wales, encompasses a 23,500-square-foot machining facility and 19,000-square-foot casting foundry. The binder-jet printer will enable Wall Colmonoy to collaborate with customers by developing additive-manufacturing prototype or parts components, moving theoretical designs into proven applications without the restrictions of conventional subtractive manufacturing techniques. Components can be developed and manufactured for fit and function trials utilizing the company’s wear- and corrosion-resistant solutions for demanding applications or simply for end use in a desired application.
Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) demonstrated that a new class of superalloys made of cobalt and nickel remains crack-free and defect-resistant in extreme heat, making them conducive for use in metal-based 3D-printing applications. In a study, researchers processed the cobalt and nickel class of superalloys and proved that they remained crack-free in electron-beam and laser-melting 3D-printing processes. According to ORNL, the superalloys have the material properties necessary for challenging environments because they successfully withstood the heat and also retained strength when stretched.
Our take on metals additive manufacturing (AM) is that it has made it past the “valley of death” in the so-called hype curve. It is being used widely and sometimes for unexpected applications. For example, I was impressed to hear a presentation from the Sonova Group about printing custom hearing-aid earpieces in titanium, for which the unexpected benefit was much better robustness against being dropped on the floor and crushed underfoot.
Advanced Powder Products (APP) completed construction of a new 25,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Philipsburg, Pa. It will house a state-of-the-art quality laboratory, increased processing capabilities, automation development and a research-and-development center. APP plans on hiring skilled engineers, technicians and entry-level manufacturing support. The facility will support company growth by adding capacity. APP specializes in metallurgy, engineering, metal injection molding (MIM) and 3D metal printing to manufacture precision metal components for the medical device, industrial, automotive, aerospace and defense industries.
Eaton announced that its Vehicle Group is implementing a new 3D metal-printing program as a part of its Industry 4.0 strategy to reduce development time and improve efficiency. The first metal printer system was installed at its Kings Mountain, N.C., facility, and a global deployment of 3D polymer printing technology is slated to be completed by first-quarter 2021.
Desktop Metal has been awarded Phase I of a three-year, $2.45 million project from the Department of Defense (DoD) to develop an additive-manufacturing (AM) process capable of mass producing cobalt-free hardmetals developed by the U.S. Army. The company’s Production System with single-pass jetting (SPJ), a proprietary AM technology developed by Desktop Metal, will mass manufacture complex-shaped, cobalt-free hardmetal parts without tooling. It is expected to lead to the development of a dual-use technology with numerous applications for the DoD as well as in the civilian sector, including parts for the steel and aerospace industries.
Open Additive LLC of Beavercreek, Ohio, has been awarded a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Phase II development effort to support the Air Force’s Landing Gear Test Facility (LGTF) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. In the Phase I effort, Open Additive’s team demonstrated the ability of its laser powder-bed fusion (LPBF) systems to accurately reproduce durable runway surface features.