Cummins finalises first metal AM production part using Binder Jetting

May 5, 2021

The Cummins Emission Solutions (CES) lance tip adapter is moving through the company’s production part approval process (PPAP) for formal approval (Courtesy Cummins Inc)

Cummins Inc., Columbus, Indiana, USA, reports it is finalising its first production part made using metal Binder Jetting Additive Manufacturing (BJT) technology, marking a significant milestone in the company’s AM and Industry 4.0 journey.

The component, a Cummins Emission Solutions (CES) lance tip adapter used in high horsepower engines, is now moving through Cummins’ production part approval process (PPAP) for formal approval. The lance tip adapter, a critical emissions component in Cummins engines, atomises and injects diesel exhaust fluid into the engine exhaust stream to reduce the amount of nitrogen oxides (NOx) emitted from Cummins’ engine systems.

“This is incredibly exciting, as it signifies yet another significant milestone in our 3D and additive manufacturing roadmap,” stated Tim Millwood, vice president of Global Manufacturing. “We’re on the cusp of being able to leverage a broad range of additive technologies to print the parts we need, using the right technology and at lower costs and increased speeds.”

The company explains that producing this part through AM provides several additional benefits, including a lighter-weight design, improved geometry for fluid and air flow, and the elimination of the added complexity of cross-drillings. It hopes to have final approval of the part and to start official production later this year.

Cummins announced its investment in Binder Jetting in April 2019 when the company implemented GE Additive’s high-precision binder jet technology. Cummins and GE Additive are actively partnering to develop third-generation binder jet technology, which will support an industrialised solution with even higher throughput, improved quality and lower cost.

In 2020, Cummins established an Additive Manufacturing Lab within the company’s Manufacturing Engineering Development Center (MEDC) in Columbus. The purpose of the lab is to develop and validate the industrialised BJT AM process. Cummins’ Engineering teams are taking this opportunity to gain experience and skillset in designing for Additive Manufacturing as the technology advances.

Currently, the Cummins Additive Manufacturing and Engineering teams are working on designing and manufacturing several additional concept parts, with the aim of finalising more parts yet this year. Cummins currently has two second-generation binder jet machines, one at its Additive Manufacturing Lab in Columbus and one at GE Additive’s Disruptive Innovation Lab near Cincinnati, Ohio.

“This is the first of many milestones. The focus of our partnership is to productionise applications at cost, quality and needed scale. We are proud to work with Cummins to develop additive technology and provide meaningful return on investment throughout its supply chains,” commented Jacob Brunsberg, Binder Jet product line leader, GE Additive.

Cummins Engineering and Manufacturing teams have additively manufactured using polymer for years and are continuing to make progress in low-volume metal Additive Manufacturing. These technologies include three GE Additive Concept Laser M2 DMLM machines – one is installed at the Cummins Technical Center in Columbus, and the other two are installed at the large Cummins Research and Development Center in San Luis Potosi (SLP), Mexico. Cummins also leverages sand AM technologies at its centre in SLP to make moulds for components.

The cost and cycle times of these machines make them well-suited for producing parts for Cummins’ aftermarket customers and those needed in low volumes. Since selling the first metal additively manufactured part in 2019, Cummins has approved twenty part numbers and shipped nearly 350 parts using its suite of AM technologies.

Over the next several years, Cummins, alongside GE Additive as its strategic partner, states that it will continue to improve its capabilities, speed-to-market and productivity of its AM processes.

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