Cooksongold AM & partners use precious metal Additive Manufacturing for glass fibre production

May 18, 2020

Cooksongold Additive Manufacturing a division of Cookson Precious Metals Ltd. headquartered in Birmingham, UK, and Sempsa JP, Madrid, Spain, both part of the Heimerle + Meule Group, have collaborated to develop glass fibre production by additively manufacturing the tip plates of bushings made from precious metals. 

Working in partnership with the Institut für Textiltechnik of RWTH Aachen University (ITA) and EOS GmbH, Germany, Cooksongold AM states that is has produced a full-size tip plate from a platinum/rhodium alloy that has successfully passed initial production trials at Johns Manville in Slovakia.

Cooksongold AM has been working with EOS for several years to industrialise the EOS M 080 and EOS M 100 AM machines in order to make them compatible for the AM of precious metals. The company has reportedly developed a wide range of precious metal parameters for use with EOS’s machines.

According to the company, the ability to additively manufacture with precious metals on an industrial scale and, through innovative AM strategies, optimise applications to make them commercially viable, is proving a powerful technology enabler. This, combined with the research being carried out at ITA, as well as the manufacturing expertise and history of Sempsa JP, is thought to be a major step forward to roll out Additive Manufacturing technology on a global scale for the industrial production of precious metal applications. The company reports that ITA is a key partner in transferring the consortium’s AM expertise to the glass fibre industry.

Cooksongold AM explained that, to facilitate this AM development, Advanced Manufacturing Process Solutions GmbH (AMPS) has been established to act as a ‘technology showcase’ for the complete new manufacturing process chain as well as provide R&D and prototyping services. 

Glass fibre companies were reportedly quick to join up, and the showcase has been structured to suit every participant’s individual needs. A ‘cost-sharing’ environment, free of intellectual property, sits above individual research and development ‘cells’, where all the commercially sensitive work takes place. The company believes this way of collaboration will enable it to identify innovation that will continue to advance glass fibre production over the next decade.

As a result of this approach to worldwide technology implementation, the members of the collaboration were awarded the ‘JEC Composites Magazine Special Prize’ on May 13.

“I am incredibly proud to be receiving the JEC Magazine Special Prize but even more proud of my team, who have managed to bring together a global collaboration in such a way that it is poised to deliver game-changing material and design innovation and efficiencies in production, that could’ve only been dreamed of a few short years ago,” stated Martin Bach, Managing Director of Cooksongold.

Prof Thomas Gries, Director of ITA, commented, “We are excited to be receiving this prestigious award for our work in the field of Additive Manufacturing for bushings. We truly believe that the developments will be a key enabler for future innovations in the field of glass fibre production, and I am proud of my team of researchers and our collaborators to have made this possible. As an institute developing processes, equipment and machinery, ITA goes beyond just developing fibre and textile products. Digital manufacturing of the bushings allows us to step across existing process innovation borders and allows production and product innovation never seen before.”

Thomas Weitlaner, Director of Additive Minds & Business Development of EOS, reported, “At EOS we are working every day to make industrial 3D printing a sustainable, mainstream manufacturing process. The 3D printing of tip plates is another great example, how Additive Manufacturing can bring real business value and innovation to the glass fibre industry.”

He continued, “Additionally we see a lot more promising applications that can further increase the efficiency of the glass fibre production process. The combination of such innovative applications and the setup of Additive Manufacturing in the Digital Factory will result in huge innovation potential. I am very proud of the joint team effort so far which is confirmed by receiving this prestigious JEC award and look forward to the outcomes of the consortium project.”

In the latest issue of Metal AM magazine

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Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

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  • Scandium’s impact on the Additive Manufacturing of aluminium alloys
  • AM for medical implants: An analysis of the impact of powder reuse in Powder Bed Fusion

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