Stephanie (Monsanty) Hendrixson served as a Modern Machine Shop summer intern in 2012 and joined the team as an assistant editor later that fall. She currently works on event news for MMS Online and on the production of the print magazine. She also blogs about additive technology and helps to manage Additive Manufacturing magazine as its associate editor. Stephanie holds an M.A. in professional writing from the University of Cincinnati and a B.A. in English literature and history from the University of Mount Union.
Sciaky’s EBAM system is equipped with two wire feeders that travel with the electron beam head, enabling the building of large parts.
Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) holds plenty of possibilities for metal AM applications. The process builds parts using an electron beam to melt metal wire that travels with the beam head. In contrast to powder bed systems in which the size of the part is limited by the size of the bed, parts built on an EBAM system can be as large as the machine’s travels permit.
This capacity for building large parts plus its speed gives EBAM clear potential as an alternative to forging. Like forging, it is a near-net-shape process capable of building large forms. But unlike forging, it requires no die or other tooling, making it faster and more flexible. EBAM can provide design freedoms in geometry that forging cannot.
But perhaps more significantly, EBAM also provides material freedom. Chicago-based Sciaky has developed an EBAM system that allows for two different wires to be fed into the machine. This dual-fed system could be used to deposit two spools of wire simultaneously, increasing throughput, or loaded with both large-diameter and fine wire to provide a range of detail. However, its greatest potential may lie in the ability to blend wires of two different alloys within the same build, creating a proprietary alloy or even a gradient between materials.
Will additive manufacturing (AM) overtake machining and traditional processes? This was one of the questions posed during an AM panel discussion hosted by Mazak and moderated by Senior Editor Peter Zelinski.
Panelists said that the use of AM will grow as engineers begin to design for the technology, but for now tolerances prevent additive from taking the place of machining. The video above contains the entire 5-minute segment of the discussion.
Panelists (from left to right) are:
Dr. Taku Yamazaki, project leader at Mazak’s engineering headquarters in Japan and a specialist in the company’s additive manufacturing technology.
Users at the Solutions Centers will get support for their projects from Renishaw applications engineers. Images courtesy of Renishaw.
The barriers to using additive manufacturing (AM) technology for production are physical—having the right equipment, software, etc.—but also largely mental. Engineering a part for additive manufacturing requires a different way of thinking about strength, material usage, finishing and more, especially for users and companies coming from a machining background. Using AM for production also demands confidence in the process, and that it will be repeatable and consistent.
As a way of helping new and potential additive users overcome these hurdles and learn to think with an “AM mindset,” Renishaw has launched its Solutions Center concept. Unveiled at EMO last year, the concept is a global network of facilities intended to help potential and current additive manufacturing users learn about the technology. Users can work within an “incubator cell” staffed with an operator and applications engineer to securely benchmark designs and test out processes. The goal is to help users develop a complete process for manufacturing production parts.
The first Solutions Center in Pune, India, is already open for business and is said to be India’s largest additive manufacturing facility. Additional centers are currently under construction in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Germany.
A new facility dedicated to additive manufacturing training has opened in Louisville, Kentucky. Located on the University of Louisville (UofL) campus, the UL Additive Manufacturing Competency Center (AMCC) is the result of a partnership between the university and Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the safety science organization. An open house with ribbon cutting February 16 commemorated the opening of the center, which began offering courses late last year.
The UL AMCC is set up to illustrate the entire metal additive manufacturing process. It boasts a computer lab for designing and programming AM parts; two selective laser melting machines stocked with stainless steel powder; and a selection of postprocessing, finishing and inspection equipment. The center’s students learn about production, best practices and safety procedures through hands-on interaction with these machines.
Most of the students who come through the UL AMCC work for manufacturers who already own AM equipment, but no prior experience is necessary. Courses are available in three different tiers. Tier 1 provides foundational classes in the basics of 3D printing and additive manufacturing, and is a good starting place for beginners or those who are just thinking about an equipment purchase. Tier 2 includes training in AM design, safety, materials and processes, and Tier 3 offers advanced training in metal part production. A formal certification process developed by UL is available to students who demonstrate required competencies.
The UL AMCC plans to add courses and sections in the future and will update its curriculum every six to 12 months as technologies evolve. View our coverage on the Additive Manufacturing website to learn more about this facility and see photos from the grand opening.
Read the February digital edition by clicking on the photo above.
The part pictured on the cover of the February 2016 issue is a near-net-shape component of a satellite propellant tank that was made by Lockheed Martin Spacy Systems via Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM). This wire-fed process can be used as an alternative to forging, particularly for large or complex metal parts in which it often offers an advantage in lead time. Click the cover image above to access the digital edition of the magazine and turn to page 24 to read the full story.
Also in this issue:
What Renishaw is doing to ease AM integration for manufacturers;
How 3D-printed custom fixturing helps a moldmaker remain flexible to the demands and deadlines of its customers; and
What Delcam learned about additive manufacturing during trial runs producing a 316L stainless steel manifold with a powder-bed process.