Tag Archives: welding

SLM-XL project: Printing large-scaled parts with Laser Powder Bed Fusion process

LISBON, 31-May-2019 — /EPR INDUSTRIAL NEWS/ — Additive manufacturing technologies are increasingly used, as they allow the manufacturing of parts with geometries not achievable by traditional processes, leading to increasingly more efficient parts for the intended applications, but mostly for smaller build envelopes and rapid prototyping. In the case of Laser Powder Bed Fusion technology, the SLM-XL project has taken the parts size shortcoming head-on and it has managed to produce large stainless steel parts of over one meter compliant with the 316L specification (image 1). To achieve this milestone, the project included the development of a prototype machine for larger parts using LPBF technology with a new, breakthrough technology, tiled laser melting, that is paving the way for the seamless production of small to large parts for the most demanding usage scenarios. Printing large-scaled parts with laser powder bed fusion process provides a fast and efficient way to create low volume parts of any length and height, allowing flexibility in design and overcoming disadvantages of traditional manufacturing technologies.

The project experiment has produced samples on the customized LPBF machine with relative densities above 99%, with the best result at 99,655%. This is a positive indicator towards the ultimate goal of zero-defect manufacturing in producing large components with LPBF. The SLM-XL projectwas led by an equipment manufacturer (Adira Metal Forming Solutions) with the collaboration of research organizations (Instituto Superior TécnicoUniversidade Nova de Lisboa – Faculdade de Ciência e Tecnologia, INEGI – Institute of Science and Innovation in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering) and one end user (MCG – Manuel Conceição Graça).

There is a growing market demand for this type of machines and this specific prototype includes a unique TLM (Tiled Laser Melting) printing process technology developed by Adira. By being able to produce larger parts, the project has brought the broad utilization of Laser Powder Bed Fusion into the mainstream, with clear benefits in efficient resources utilization, cost effectiveness for customized smaller production runs and overall flexibility on the production. The project’s outcomes included a methodology for selection of parameters to fabricate large metal parts in stainless steel 316L, as well as contributing for the development of the final prototype machine.

Empowering industry with large parts production capabilities

Laser powder bed fusion is one of the metal additive manufacturing technologies available. It is a layer by layer process in which a defined powder thickness is melted by the laser allowing the manufacture of functional complex-shaped objects, with high structural integrity for low volume and affordable costs in different materials. Being able to deliver parts produced through this technology is not a novelty, and has already been used, among other, for biomedical devices. But ensuring the production of larger parts, retaining the expected features of materials made from traditional subtractive manufacturing, has proven elusive so far. The consortium tested the ultimate ability to reach the highest possible density for a larger part, which in turn would reveal the type of potential applications.

By showing the capability of producing large build envelopes of 316L stainless steel samples, the project has paved the way for other materials to follow in the near future. To achieve the results of 99% plus density in all the part, it was required to adjust the parameters at the outer zones, and a methodology to perform this adjustment has also been proposed as an outcome of this project.

SOURCE: EuropaWire

The SLM-XL – 3D project consortium was tasked with the production of 316L stainless steel materials with a prototype SLM machine developed by ADIRA

The SLM-XL – 3D project puts together leading research and industrial organizations to develop a prototype capable of coping with the most demanding real-life scenarios

LISBOA, 9-May-2019 — /EPR INDUSTRIAL NEWS/ — Utilization of laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) technology has been confined to the production of small parts with up to 99,9% relative density and with clear economic benefits, yet the difficulty to increase parts size while keeping its mechanical and other properties have prevented its utilization for large scale parts production. This is the challenge addressed by the SLM-XL project lead by an equipment manufacturer (Adira Metal Forming Solutions) with the collaboration of research organizations (Instituto Superior TécnicoUniversidade Nova de Lisboa – Faculdade de Ciência e Tecnologia) and end user (MCG – Manuel Conceição Graça). The consortium was tasked with the production of 316L stainless steel materials with a prototype SLM machine developed by ADIRA, and the project’s outcomes included a methodology for selection of parameters to fabricate large metal parts in stainless steel 316L, as well as contributing for the development of the final prototype machine.

Laser powder bed fusion (LPBF9 also known as selective Laser Melting (SLM) or direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), is a layer by layer process in which a defined powder thickness is melted by the laser allowing the manufacture of functional complex shaped components, with high structural integrity for low volume and affordable costs in different materials. Printing large-scaled parts with selective laser melting process provides a fast and efficient way to create low volume parts of any length and height allowing flexibility in design and overcoming disadvantages of traditional manufacturing technologies as eg. casting where modifying casting molds when the component design is changing is time consuming and cost-intensive. Especially in case of prototyping, additive manufacturing enhances the flexibility of manufacturers in design iterations.

The challenges are due to the microstructure and mechanical properties of additive manufactured parts, which can show anisotropy and position-depending properties. For large-scaled LPBF machines the position depending changes in microstructure and mechanical properties are more pronounced as compared to LPBF machines with reduced build volume. There is a market demand for this type of machines and as such several manufacturers are commercializing equipment with increased build envelopes.

Adira is addressing this market and has moved from design to prototype. The machine, used to produce the samples for the SLM-XL project, has been displayed in several exhibitions and is gaining market recognition, including being awarded on the Product Innovation category by COTEC-ANI in 2017, due to its unique TLM (Tiled Laser Melting) printing process technology.

Bringing the machine design into real-world usage scenarios

The present investigation has focused on the influence of an enlarged build envelope on porosity, and mechanical properties of 316 L stainless steel samples.

There is still significant lack of knowledge and understanding about the correlations between process parameters and mechanical properties and for high-power LPBF systems with increased build rates. As a result of extended laser powers of up to 1 kW the solidification conditions significantly affect the resulting microstructure in terms of size of dendrites and grains. Consequently, the SLM-XL project focused on the investigation and correlation of process parameters (e.g., laser power, scan speed, layer orientation, hatch distance, vector length, etc.) on the density of the samples (Archimedes, imaging technique), microstructure (scanning electron microscopy) and resultant mechanical properties (hardness, tensile and compression tests) for 316 L stainless steel parts with different geometrical characteristics and produced in different areas of the powder bed.

The results show that to assure 99% plus density in all the building envelop of a system with 1 m3 of volume, the user needs to adjust parameters as the outer zones are reached. A methodology to perform this adjustment is proposed.

The microstructure analysis indicates a preferential elongation of the grains in certain directions which leads to anisotropy of the mechanical properties relative to the direction of build. The mechanical tests resulted in hardness, elongation, tensile strength characteristic of 316L full hardened stainless steel.

SOURCE: EuropaWire

Europe seeks to retain its leading position in industrial competitiveness with new project on Additive Manufacturing skills

PORTO SALVO, 25-Mar-2019 — /EPR INDUSTRIAL NEWS/ — Technology is evolving at a much faster pace than the development of the workers’ skills to use it. Most of the current initiatives and projects that focus on skills shortages are developing skills for existing needs and shortages, meaning that industry is already demanding personnel with those competences. Looking at a bigger picture, it means that there is no strategical approach to skills in Additive Manufacturing and that the current methodology to answer to skills needs is based on reaction instead of prediction and planning. Adding to this, the time between identification of the skills needs and shortages and the capability of deploying qualification/training modules to address them is not aligned with the industry requirements, since in most cases it takes about 1-2 years to create the required professional profile/qualification or competence unit/training module and to have it deployed.

The Wohlers Report 2018 on 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing states that the overall additive manufacturing industry grew 21% in 2017 as the industry expanded by more than €1 thousand million. According to Ernst & Young, the demand for AM and related services has increased in the last years and is expected that in 2020 the market volume reaches €10 thousand million.

As Europe seeks to retain its leading position in industrial competitiveness, there is an urgent need to establish a platform for Additive Manufacturing (AM) skills at European, National and Regional levels.

To meet this challenge the project Sector Skills Strategy in Additive Manufacturing (SAM) started in January 2019. The initiative will tackle the current European need for developing an effective system to identify and anticipate the right skills for the Additive Manufacturing (AM) sector demands in response to the increasing labour market needs, thus, contributing for the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth of the AM sector

To address the challenges described above the SAM project intends to:

  • Build a sector skills strategy in AM;
  • Assess and anticipate skills (gaps and shortages) in AM;
  • Support with data the AM European Qualification System and foster wideness of its scope;
  • (Re) design professional profiles according to the industry requirements;
  • Develop specific relevant qualifications to be delivered for the AM Sector;
  • Increase the attractiveness of the sector to young people, whilst promoting gender balance;
  • Strengthen education-research-industry partnerships and encourage creativity “in companies and relevant educational and scientific institutions”;
  • Track students, trainees and job seekers and promote match making between job offer and search.

SAM will promote the AM sector by engaging with different target groups, namely, existing workforce, students from the primary school, vocational education and training and higher education, by putting in place an awareness campaign, stimulating the creativity of the partnership as well as of the audience.

Project partners

SAM project consortium is composed of 16 partners of which EWF is the coordinator. It encompasses industrial representatives from the AM sector, organisations involved in the fields of Vocational Education and Training (VET) and/or Higher Education (HE), and umbrella organisations. The consortium is strongly committed with the aim of supporting the growth, innovation, and competitiveness of the AM sector, since all partners have expertise in manufacturing technology and/or in the provision of education, and all of them are recognised players in the field. This ambitious project has a duration of 48 months and ends on 31st December 2022.

List of partners:

  • EWF – EUROPEAN FEDERATION FOR WELDING, JOINING AND CUTTING
  • CECIMO – CECIMO – EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF THE MACHINE TOOL INDUSTRIES
  • FUNDACIÓN IDONIAL
  • EPMA – THE EUROPEAN POWDER METALLURGY ASSOCIATION
  • MATERIALISE
  • GRANTA DESIGN
  • RENISHAW
  • LORTEK
  • MTC – MANUFACTURING TECNHOLOGY CENTRE
  • FUNDACIÓN AITIIP –
  • ISQ – INSTITUTO DE SOLDADURA E QUALIDADE
  • LMS – LABORATORY FOR MANUFACTURING SYSTEMS & AUTOMATION
  • UBRUN – BRUNEL UNIVERSITY LONDON
  • ECOLE CENTRALE DE NANTES
  • LZH LASER AKADEMIE GMBH
  • POLIMI – POLITECNICO DI MILANO

SAM project is funded by the European Union’s Erasmus+ (Sector Skills Alliances in VET – Blueprint).

SOURCE: EuropaWire

DIGIWELD to develop an open and innovative digital learning system (SIMTRANET) and education materials in welding technology

PORTO SALVO, 22-Jan-2019 — /EPR Industrial News/ — Embracing the learning challenges of the new digital era is the main goal of the DIGIWELD project, which aims at providing digital tools for education and innovative practices for students from Vocational Education and Training Schools, as well as for welders who want to keep abreast of the new skills and competences required for new welding technologies.

This project comes at a critical juncture, with the pace of change for businesses and the global economy accelerating and new digital and manufacturing technologies reshaping entire industries, a challenge to existing workforce qualifications, who have to adapt or risk obsolescence. To address these new requirements, broader access to education and training for skills development is fundamental, coupled with new, flexible learning options. Together, they are reshaping both traditional education and Vocational and Educational Training. A workforce able to cope with the new manufacturing and digital technologies becomes a driving force to competitiveness, since improved workforce skills triggers innovation and growth, move production up the value chain and are fundamental to shape the future labour market.

Online learning platforms are one key asset to provide broad education to all those looking to improve their skills or gain new ones, and that is the unique position of DIGIWELD project, whose aim is to develop an open and innovative digital learning system (SIMTRANET) and education materials in welding technology. The benefits of this digital learning tool include reduced time and cost for industrial partners, a flexible learning tool for those looking to improve their existing skills, a better fit to the new generation of welding apprentices who are, by definition, digital natives, a set of new technologies and teaching methods for trainers and teachers and, finally, an improved education and training process, one that focuses both on apprentices need and employer’s requirements.

The project’s key deliverables over the course of its two-year duration include the development of:

• Curricula for training welders using simulators and updating EU Guidelines for the European/International Welder IAB – 089r5 – 14
• Digital tool to be inserted in simulators as modules dedicated to the training of apprentices (16-20 years old)
• Training 24 trainers and involving min 60 apprentices in the welding profession

Once fully developed, it is expected that new project will provide a unique insight to propose the transfer of innovation to the other 27 countries of the EWF network. As a result, it is expected that at least 5 new training courses will be provided to the market.

Closing the gap between traditional and Vocational Education and Training

The shift to a knowledge-based economy implies a workforce with higher skillsets. CEDEFOP – European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training – forecasts that the proportion of jobs in the EU requiring tertiary level qualifications will increase from 29% in 2010 to 34% in 2020. This comes in a context in which European education and training systems continue to fall short in providing the right skills for employability and are not working adequately with business or employers to bring the learning experience closer to the reality of the working environment. These skills mismatches are a growing concern for European industry’s competitiveness.

Welding is one such case, in that it is both highly technical on its execution and increasingly digital, but the number of Initial Vocational Education and Training apprentices, in spite of efforts to lure more young students, still fails to meet the expected business and industry requirements to ensure long-term needs. And work-based learning (e.g. apprenticeships in a real company environment) has not been as widely accepted by students and companies as expected, which means new and more enticing ways to use WBL need to be developed. Given the diversity of applications in industry, even students undergoing formal welding qualifications need to follow other study programmes to be qualified in specific procedures and then to pass an additional exam to be certified by a national/international body.

These unique circumstances and environment were the driving force behind the creation of DIGIWELD project, whose consortium represents a strategic partnership between international education and training entities with the main goal to offer an adequate platform for acquiring and developing basic skills and key competences for apprentices, as well as for teachers/trainers in the field of welding and digital learning based on simulators.

On the first part of the project, the 6 partners will develop the new system and training courses and seminars will be offered to the labour market. Once developed and approved by the EWF members, the curricula will become part of the Guideline and ItalyRomaniaPortugal and Spain will become the core implementers of the new Guideline inside the 31 countries of EWF, with apprentices using the new training courses to become qualified welders at least in 3 countries. As a growing number of courses start being requested by the labour market, partners will continue their work dedicated to the improvement of the system. Once fully tested and implemented, it is expected that the system will become widely available to the remaining 27 countries of EWF and help the technical schools to build the training system for their apprentices.

Project partners

The DIGIWELD project brings together six organizations from RomaniaBelgiumSpain and Italy. The consortium partners include ASR – Asociatia de Sudura din RomaniaEWF – European Federation for Welding, Joining and CuttingCESOL – Asociacion Espanola de Soldadura y Tecnologias de UnionIIS Progress s.r.l. – Istituto Italiano della SaldaturaColegiul Tehnic “Domnul Tudor”; and ATS – Augmented Training Services, S.L.

The project’s associated partners include the General Directorate of TrainingUniversity of CracoviaPronanomant AssociationAstra Rail S.A.ISIM TimisoaraGoierri ScolaUniversity of CadizMasa HuelvaMinistry of education of the Junta de AndalusiaSalesian educational community of Huelva; and lastly, the Directorate General for Social Assistance and Child Protection.

DIGIWELD project has received funding from the European Union’s Erasmus+ (Strategic Partnerships for vocational education and training).

SOURCE: EuropaWire

M. Davis & Sons Provides High-Tech Solutions with Messer Plasma Cutting Equipment

Wilmington, DE, 2018-Feb-21 — /EPR INDUSTRIAL NEWS/ — Peggy Del Fabbro, CEO of M. Davis & Sons, announced that it has acquired a Messer Cutting Systems Evolution® Plasma Cutting Table. The revolutionary new equipment enables M. Davis and Sons fabrication specialists to produce an enhanced level of smooth edge quality, precision hole cutting, and it keeps the surrounding work area smoke free.

“We are excited to offer the new equipment to advance the customer’s project schedule,” said John Bonk, M. Davis and Sons’ Vice-President of Operations.

The new state-of-the-art plasma cutting equipment by Messer Cutting Systems is software controlled and allows M. Davis & Sons to provide a larger volume of plate cutting in-house to accommodate client needs. The plasma cutting table allows materials to be cut run in measurements from 1.5” for carbon steel to 1-inch for stainless steel and to achieve high-quality edges. Metal plates are aligned to the torch via a camera for extreme accuracy.

One of the most innovative features of the equipment is its smoke-free design. It’s equipped with exhaust dampers that open and close as the welding torch moves for a safer work environment. The Messer Slagger component automatically cleans the machine base with pusher blades for cleaning performed in just minutes for minimal downtime.

The plasma cutting equipment represents the next evolution for steel fabrication and industrial construction. An innovative approach to construction and fabrication enables the company to work faster and produce the highest quality results while providing significant time savings for any project.

The company recently sent two of its fabrication specialists to Wisconsin to receive specialized training and instruction on the equipment’s operation. Additional operators are being trained as part of an ongoing in-house program.

The acquisition of the Messer Cutting Systems Evolution® Plasma Cutting Table by M. Davis & Sons provides the company’s clients in multiple industries with an enhanced level of quality, precision and options for modular process skid fabrication and assembly, steel fabrication, industrial construction and welding.

Via EPR Network
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