SPARC - automated support REMOVAL

Additive manufacturing offers endless possibilities. Nonetheless, there are constraints that we have to obey: 

  • designers need to redesign critical parts for the process
  • post-processing of components is time-consuming
  • the pre- and post-process steps are labor intensive, and consequently, expensive
  • internal features (a.k.a. 'blind sections') are impossible to machine due to accessibility
  • supported regions need to be milled and/or polished

In the same fashion as we approach all of our work, we have created a patent-pending solution that is superior to anything on the market to-date and offers the following benefits:

  • No more geometry redesign for AM required
  • >95% faster than traditional support removal processes, including subtractive methods
  • Final surface has an incredibly homogeneous finish Ra of less than 10µm in support regions (i.e. ready for further polishing)
  • Blind sections of geometries to be printed that cannot be traditionally machined (tripling the range of applications possible with AM) are now possible
  • SPARC is fully automated
  • Available for all laser powder bed fusion materials
  • Easy to qualify for highly-regulated industries like aerospace, energy and medical

SPARC_CASE STUDY_1
SHROUDED LOW-FLOW CENTRIFUGAL IMPELLER FOR GAS TURBINES

When addressing new challenges in AM, we deliver turnkey solutions to our customers that can be easily implemented within their existing production. As an example from the energy sector, closed impellers are typically joined by brazing or welding, which limits the tip speed at high operating temperatures. This can be typically avoided by printing the entire component with laser powder bed fusion systems. For comparison, removing these weld points can increase the performance of these components by ~20-30%, meaning that a single gas-turbine installation can perform at ~2% higher efficiency, meaning savings of millions of dollars in operating costs per year.

However, this raises the challenges of supports in geometries that cannot be redesigned due to performance constraints. These support regions can be minimized in Additive Manufacturing by building components in a way that avoids horizontal surfaces, but this introduces anisotropy into the final components that lead to high-speed imbalances. Therefore, the final application requires a horizontal orientation that has been traditionally impossible. Impossible until SPARC, that is.

 

Magnitude has developed a process for manufacturing closed geometries in AM with supports that cannot be removed and/or finished through traditional means.

The final result is a set of closed (i.e. non-machinable) surfaces, optimized for the application with surface roughness values of Ra < 7µm directly after support removal and no subsurface porosity. This offers turbine manufacturers an order-of-magnitude improvement in their cold and hot-section gas turbine components where channel geometries serve a performance-enhancing purpose.

If you would like any information on the process or would like to try it out, please don't hesitate to contact us!

Contact us:

phone: +44 7376 420017
e-mail: info@mgntd.co

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