3D Printing & Additive Manufacturing Will Grow in 2017: Manufacturing Processes: Page 2 of 4

In 2017, we'll see more 3D printing and additive manufacturing (AM) processes made for large-scale pieces and final production parts.

of investing in AM technologies, and GE has been developing its own internally for several years.

One specialty of Materials Solutions, which Siemens recently purchased a majority interest in, is making high-temperature turbomachinery parts for gas turbines where accuracy, surface finish, and the highest quality materials are critical to the parts' operational performance in service. An example is this burner head.

 

Siemens, Materials Solutions, 3D printing

One specialty of Materials Solutions, which Siemens recently purchased a majority interest in, is making high-temperature turbomachinery parts for gas turbines where accuracy, surface finish, and the highest quality materials are critical to the parts' operational performance in service. An example is this burner head. (Source: Siemens)

Other OEMs, along with machine makers and materials suppliers, are building their own processes and doing internal R&D. Alcoa, for example, has expanded the world's largest light metals research center, the Alcoa Technical Center near Pittsburgh, Penn., to advance 3D printing materials and processes for aerospace, automotive, and medical applications. That expansion includes new materials designed specifically for several AM technologies, as well as a proprietary hybrid process, Ampliforge , that combines additive and traditional metals manufacturing. Alcoa has a 20-year history in AM, primarily building 3D-printed tools, molds, and prototypes. Although aerospace is a key market, the company has also been using AM for much of its rapid prototyping and product development in other areas, including oil & gas and some automotive.

Russia-headquartered aluminum producer UC RUSAL and Sauer GmbH, part of metal-cutting machine tools maker DMG MORI, are co-developing industrial 3D printing technology   for use with aluminum and aluminum alloys. The technology will be used to print aluminum parts in the aerospace, automotive, and machinery sectors. The agreement includes RUSAL's development of alloys to convert them into powders for 3D printing, which will be tested with Sauer equipment.

Sauer will also support the setup of new production and promote the new technology among its own customers for making products. Although the companies didn't specify which AM technologies they will develop, Sauer Lasertec has already integrated laser deposition AM with powder nozzles, welding, and precision 5-axis milling in its hybrid  Lasertec 65 3D system , introduced at RAPID 2016. Hybrid AM/CNC machines will also increase in 2017, including lower-cost models like Optomec's latest systems introduced in 2016. These combine LENS blown powder metal AM print engine technology with conventional compact mill CNC vertical milling platforms from Fryer Machine Systems.

 

Sauer, DMG MORI, Lasertec 65, hybrid, 3D printing

Hybrid AM/CNC machines for metal parts will multiply in 2017. Sauer Lasertec has already integrated laser deposition AM with powder nozzles, welding, and precision 5-axis milling in its hybrid Lasertec 65 3D system. (Source: DMG MORI)

Although several consortia already exist for advancing AM and improving some 3D printing technologies, another one formed last July. This one's headed by Carnegie Mellon University's NextManufacturing Center, which is all about metals AM among other advanced manufacturing processes. The NextManufacturing Center Consortium  's purpose is to bring together leading industry, government, and nonprofit organizations. The Center wants to develop new ways of thinking to make 3D printing a mainstream manufacturing process, plus new tools

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