3D printing technology has a lot of manufacturers wondering how they can begin to take advantage of additive manufacturing to better their own businesses. Many manufacturers have already begun experimenting with the technology and even NASA is finding out that the metal 3D printed components can hold up to their rigorous tests. Now Siemens AG is investing $23.8 million to open up their first 3D printing workshop in Sweden to help improve the production of their gas turbines.
More materials are available for metal 3D printing than ever before, and these materials continue to be improved upon to maximize their properties to compliment 3D printing technology. At first, metal powders were not all created equal, many still aren’t, but as metal 3D printing continues to mature these materials have proven themselves time and time again through vigorous testing.
NASA tested their first 3D printed fuel pump for their rocket engine and the components held up spectacularly.
Siemens AG’s facility in Finspång Sweden is where Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery AB is headquartered. The new facility will produce and repair parts for industrial gas turbines making use of the latest in metal 3D printing technology. It will employee around 20 engineers and machine operators and will feature Direct Metal Laser Sintering machines. The DMLS machines will be purchased from the German additive manufacturing leader EOS.
3D printing allows manufacturers to produce their own replacement parts on the fly and as needed. Not only can this technology aid in replacing broken components, producing complex components becomes more affordable and can take place overnight.
Thorbjorn Fors, Siemens’ Global Business Director for Distributed Generation had this to say: “With this investment, we can develop new and improved components and repairs, for example burner tips to serve our industrial gas turbine SGT-800, significantly faster,” “Using this innovative approach, we will shorten repair times from months to weeks. It is an important step in our ability to respond to the needs of our customers.”( bit.ly/1X8B59U)
Siemens’ workshop will also be creating prototype parts alongside the production of replacement parts. This initiative is not only advancing their manufacturing process but helping aid in R&D for the business. As of now, there is no indication that metallic materials are being processed but it’s only a matter of time before 3D printers begin buzzing away.
The CEO of Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery , Hans Holmström said this in their press release.
“Siemens is at the forefront in Sweden and the world of additive manufacturing in the development and production of advanced components in the metal to the power industry. This is a step in a long-term investment in this area, where we have not yet seen all the possibilities. Through this investment, we are building up the skills and experience that can lead to new ideas and developments in the field.”( bit.ly/1PF727W)
With all the advancements in 3D printing technology, especially in regard to metal materials, manufacturers in nearly every sector are taking notice. From medical devices and implants, to the industrial manufacturers shop floor, 3D printing can benefit nearly every manufacturing process out there. Siemens AG is not the first company to invest in 3D printing technology, but as more companies begin to adopt additive manufacturing for their own use, even more applications will come into focus.