Special Machinery

Complex components for special machinery manufactured additively with EOS

EOS Additive Manufacturing enables machine building companies to produce high-quality metal and plastic parts cost efficiently – even down to a batch size of just one.

Laser sintering systems from EOS are unique in enabling components to be produced cost efficiently in small volumes down to a batch size of just one. This is a huge advantage in mechanical engineering in particular: here there is an increasing demand for customer-specific components and individual part manufacturing. The components in question are mainly plastic or metal. The production of these components in small batches is a complex matter that is rarely profitable. For example, injection moulding tools are usually required for the production of plastic components. These are expensive and generally have an impact on delivery dates.

 

The Additive Manufacturing process from EOS is based on metal and plastic laser sintering and offers numerous advantages to machine building companies: It means that they can produce complex components almost overnight by making direct use of the CAD construction data. It is also possible to make changes at short notice without requiring tools.

 

EOS technology offers users maximum freedom when constructing components. The layered structure makes it possible to apply material in a targeted way and therefore to produce very light and yet rigid components. These can even incorporate functions like hinges, air ducts or fluid lines.

 

EOS has developed an extensive portfolio of high-performance materials designed to meet the various demands of its customers. It is also possible to produce spare parts with almost no lead time. These are also available without any time constraints.

 

Case Study

Mirror deflection unit

Highly integrated components to fully leverage the laser sintering design options

 

Washing rotor rotolavit

Direct parts minimize tooling cost, lead times and help to handle e.g. regional variants

EOS Additive Manufacturing technology – Special machinery best-practice examples

Industry: Euro-K – 3D printed micro-burners for the optimized combustion of gaseous and liquid fuel

Small burners, big variety Euro-K designs and builds micro-burners featuring EOS technology

For centuries, a streamlined prow was believed to be the only practical shape for the front section of a boat hull until David Watson

Taylor invented the bulbous bow. This nose-shaped design allows the water to flow perfectly around the boat almost without any bow waves. A new shape therefore allowed an undreamed-of increase in efficiency. Euro-K experienced something similar with the construction of optimized burner geometry for gases and liquids   by using Additive Manufacturing technology provided by EOS.

Challenge

During the combustion of gaseous and liquid fuels, various methods are used to prepare the fuel and form the fuel / air mixture. Whereas the mixture formation with gaseous fuels can be achieved using relatively simple mechanisms, it always represents a challenge with liquid fuels.

 

The reason? Liquid fuels need to be mixed in a suitable manner with the combustion air. But before this can take place, the surface area of the liquid fuel must be greatly increased. This is generally done by spraying it in a very fine spray using pneumatic, mechanical or pressure differential principles.

 

This means that the availability of burners that support the use of gaseous as well as liquid fuels of all compositions is greatly limited. Euro-K refused to accept this and set about developing optimized burner geometry. The idea was for the geometry to make the types and formats of fuel usable without having to change the burner. The burner’s volume was also reduced to a minimum. The challenge therefore lay in the demand for flexibility, minimized product size and integral functionality.

 

Solution

The production technology to match this challenge was quickly located: Additive Manufacturing. With this process, a laser builds the product layer by layer from a fine metal powder. Euro-K benefited from the design freedom that this solution offered. Unlike conventional production methods, the limits to manufacturability, such as those experienced with machining or the flow properties of cooling cast materials, were virtually non-existent. EOS technology is also able to produce small batch sizes cost-effectively, allowing assembly costs to be reduced by 20%. Euro-K was also more than familiar with the innovative technology, since the company had already established a considerable level of expertise in the past through a number of projects.

 

Euro-K GmbH offers a unique portfolio of services. Managing Partner Sebastian Kießling explains: “We not only have a successful history in the design of efficient burners for various fuels, but we also have considerable expertise in Additive Manufacturing. For our customers, we have designed a burner that allows fuels in various physical states to be used and which also demonstrates a low component volume.” In addition to experience and equipment   the project team used an EOS M 290 from technology supplier EOS   Euro-K was also able to access a further, highly valuable resource: its own test rig and simulation technology. This made it possible to start development with an already high level of maturity.

 

For the actual design work, CAD software was used that allowed its data to be transferred quickly and easily to the EOS system following definition of the final shape and size of the burner. In terms of material, the project team chose EOS NickelAlloy IN718, a heat and corrosion-resistant nickel alloy that has excellent tensile strength, resilience, creep resistance and fracture resistance at temperatures up to 700 °C. With this material and this production technology, the engineers created the perfect burner ready for use in the micro-gas turbines of a Berlin-based plant builder.

 

Unique portfolio of services: Euro-K offers experience in burner design, expertise in Additive Manufacturing and also has access to test rig technology. (Source: Faculty of Combustion Engines and Aircraft Propulsion, Prof. H. P. Berg, BTU Cottbus – Senftenberg)

Unique portfolio of services: Euro-K offers experience in burner design, expertise in Additive Manufacturing and also has access to test rig technology. (Source: Faculty of Combustion Engines and Aircraft Propulsion, Prof. H. P. Berg, BTU Cottbus – Senftenberg)

Results

The new burner is able to use gaseous and liquid fuels equally effectively. The new, optimized geometry also allows the use of liquid fuels that are classified as difficult to burn, such as fusel oils that are created from the distillation of alcohol. Another positive effect is that the burner’s innovative design allowed that the size of the combustion chamber to be reduced by 20%.

 

There is another advantage for end users, however: up to now, the plant operator had to choose the type and format of the fuel used. It was therefore impossible to offset the fluctuating prices of different fuels, since switching to a different fuel was generally impossible or only possible with costly and time-intensive conversions of the micro-gas turbines. The new burner design brings a considerable degree of flexibility for users.

Frieder Neumann, Deputy Head of Micro-Gas Turbine Development at Bilfinger in Berlin, confirmed the advantages: “The actual combustion process has been optimized, we are able to guarantee our customers the freedom of choice in terms of fuel, and switching to other fuels after the plant has been purchased can be easily arranged. Euro-K is also able to offer the technology at an attractive price. We are absolutely delighted by our partner’s expertise in design and production, as well as by the EOS technology that makes it possible.” This once again demonstrates that it can sometimes be worth rethinking established practices and breaking new ground   not just in shipbuilding.

“EOS technology gave us the opportunity to offer exactly the right solution for our customers who have a specific challenge. Our many years of experience in the industry, coupled with our expertise in Additive Manufacturing, enabled us to achieve measurable added value for users.”

Sebastian Kießling, Managing Partner at Euro-K GmbH

Short profile

Euro-K GmbH offers first-class development services in the field of small energy converters. Its portfolio ranges from advice on energy technology issues, including process analysis and optimization, to project planning, simulation, testing and production.

Industry: Anubis – EOS Solution and materials provide low costs, high quality, and quick turnaround times for flow meter parts

Additive Manufacturing Helps Anubis Go with the Flow (Meter)

If you’re rolling out an industrial product and you want to manufacture it in the most efficient, cost-effective way possible, you may want to touch base with someone who has done exactly that time and again – Anubis Manufacturing Cons

ultants Corporation (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada). Recently, Anubis developed, patented, and commercialized a mass flow meter for particulates. Called the ARBOmeter, the device can operate either as a strictly volumetric device or, with the addition of a hopper and tray, a meter that can measure variable bulk density of materials. The ARBOmeter is easy and inexpensive to install on existing product lines, where it can be mounted without touching the product. The device is primarily used in the mining, plastics, recycling and food processing industries, and it can measure flow of everything from pellets to powder to potato chips.

Challenge

Inside the meter’s stainless steel enclosure are a number of delicate electronic components, several of which require a framework that reduces vibration and keeps it in place. The individual frames need to hold each part firmly and accurately at a fixed angle. They also need to allow for easy, tool-free installation and removal. Components to be supported include two cameras and an LED light that have different shapes and require unique frames. “Given the challenges involved in making the frames, using Additive Manufacturing to make them seemed like a good idea,” says Tharwat Fouad, owner of Anubis.

 

Because of prior experience with EOS technology and materials, Anubis selected laser sintering as the process to make seven of the frameworks, including those for the cameras and LED light. There were several reasons for the choice: frame complexity (incorporating such features as built-in hinges and quick-release snap fits), small production runs and – most important – continuing evolution of the frame designs.

 

The ARBOmeter employs an internal CPU that gives off heat. To protect electronic components, the temperature inside the stainless steel enclosure should not exceed 42 °C/108 °F. “We needed to explore a cooling system of some kind,” explains Fouad. That presented a challenge. Standard practice might be to cut a hole in the enclosure and mount a fan. But in this instance, the device is IP 65 rated, so neither dust nor water can enter the enclosure – and that means no holes at all. Any cooling system would need to be internal. “We searched extensively and consulted electrical manufacturers,” Fouad explains, “but we didn’t find an inexpensive way to cool an enclosure and keep the IP rating we wanted.” Laser sintering’s potential for innovation and design freedom should also keep a solution for this challenge ready.

Solution

“Several of the plastic parts went through extensive redesign and we chose to revise the flow meter at least 15 times,” notes Fouad. With so many changes, traditional plastics processes such as molding would be far too costly and would slow down product development. By contrast, using laser sintered nylon (PA 2200, a Nylon 12 material), it was possible to manufacture the frames inexpensively and produce new versions overnight. The ability to make multiple revisions within tight turnaround times allowed Anubis to create optimal frames for each component.

A further benefit: A plastic laser sintering system can create nearly any shape. It could incorporate channels inside the nylon frames so that air could flow through to cool the electrical parts. A thin layer of nylon isolating the components from the channels would ensure that the meter could still earn its IP rating. Engineers calculated the volume of air flow needed to remove the heat as well as size and design of the channels. Adding an impeller fins and baffles maximized the heat transference. Although time constraints prevented Anubis from finalizing the cooling channel design on the ARBOmeter they are currently considering such a feature for several other applications.

 

Results

Meanwhile, the ARBOmeter has gone into full production. The meter’s laser sintered frames are built in batches of four nested sets, seven to a set, over about 20 hrs. As a basis 3D data of the part is used and before the production starts it gets “sliced” into layers. The laser sintering system, which contains a bed of plastic powder, generates the desired geometry layer by layer. A focussed laser beam then fuses the powder material on the basis of the digital data provided. Once one layer has been completed, the powder bed is lowered by a few micrometers and the process begins again. “The quality, repeatability, and durability of the parts are very satisfactory,” Fouad enthuses. “The EOS technology is uniquely suited to our needs on this project.” Anubis has minimized the frames to optimize set sizes and plans to run five sets at once in the FORMIGA P 100. The company expects to make between 100 and 200 ARBOmeters in 2013.

 

Anubis’ experience with plastic laser sintering and other Additive Manufacturing (AM) processes has given them a broader understanding of the future role of the technology. “I believe that AM will close the competitive gap between larger corporations and small businesses, or even individual inventors, for bringing new products to market,” Fouad says. “It will have a major impact on speed to market and will provide more manufacturing choices to end users. I don’t think it will eliminate traditional manufacturing – at least in the foreseeable future. But for low-volume applications, it is filling a valuable niche in which it is more cost-effective, and offers greater design freedom, than traditional processes.”

”The quality, repeatability, and durability of the parts made by using Additive Manufacturing are very satisfactory. The EOS technology is uniquely suited to our needs on this project.”

”With laser sintering we were able to inexpensively produce, explore and further develop multiple iterations of a part. Traditional plastics processes would be far too expensive and time consuming in this case.“

Tharwat Fouad, Owner of Anubis Manufacturing Consultants Corporation

Short profile

Anubis Corporation specializes in providing professional engineering services to companies with industrial manufacturing operations. Strategically placed, with offices in Canada and Egypt they offer services through-out North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa so that they may meet their global customer’s needs.