Meld Manufacturing Says Large 3D Printed Aluminum Part Represents Milestone
As the coronavirus pandemic disrupts global supply chains, the company says the ability to additively manufacture large, previously forged parts may be of particular advantage.
Meld Manufacturing Corp. has announced a new milestone for its large-part metal additive manufacturing. The company says it has now fabricated components in excess of 55 inches (1.4 meters) in diameter using off-the-shelf 6061 aluminum. These parts have solid walls as thick as 4 inches (102 mm).
The company is celebrating the milestone as a representation of the potential for open-air metal 3D printing’s scalability. “The material is notable because despite its widespread utilization in industry, it is not compatible with other metal additive technologies,” the company says. “With the Meld technology, metal additive manufacturing of large structures typically produced using a forging can now be printed on demand.”
Because of the upheaval of supply and demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic globally, the company reflects that this capability could be particularly beneficial: “Prior to the pandemic, our customer told us that these parts, printed in a few days at Meld, would have taken them up to two years to get from their supply chain. This global economic shutdown likely added six months or more to that two-year lead time estimate,” says Dr. Chase Cox, director of technology. “Meld represents an opportunity to re-establish domestic manufacturing capability at a critical time.”
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