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.
Falcontech Co. Ltd., an aerospace manufacturing service provider based in China, announced plans for its Super AM Factory initiative with the targeted installation of 50 metal additive-manufacturing (AM) systems supplied by Farsoon Technologies. Falcontech is enhancing manufacturing capacity for series production by adopting more Farsoon machines to its current facility, reaching a total of 20 systems by the end of 2020. The customized large-format system has a build envelope of up to 24.4 x 24.4 x 43.3 inches (620 x 620 x 1,100 mm), which gives Falcontech a production tool for large aerospace applications.
Carpenter Technology Corp. opened its 500,000-square-foot Emerging Technology Center (ETC) in Athens, Ala. It will provide the capability to atomize a range of specialty alloys into metal powder and manufacture the powder into finished parts using AM technology (3D metal printing). The ETC’s downstream equipment for taking the initially produced part to a final finished product includes a hot isostatic press (HIP) system and vacuum heat treating to optimize the material properties of high-value specialty alloy components. Carpenter Technology has invested approximately $40 million to date in the ETC and is expected to create about 60 jobs over the next five years.