Sandvik has substantially increased its capacity for metal Additive Manufacturing by installing several new Renishaw RenAM 500Q quad laser machines, the company reports. The company is also initiating further collaboration with Renishaw, based in Gloucestershire, UK, in areas such as materials development, AM process technologies and post-processing.
Its capacity expansion follows the announced investment of SEK 200 million in a new plant for the manufacturing of titanium and nickel powders for AM, which will complement Sandvik’s existing Osprey™ powder offering to include virtually all alloy groups of relevance today.
The new multi-laser RenAM 500Q machines will expand Sandvik’s existing lineup, which includes printers from EOS, Concept Laser, Arcam and ExOne. As a collective, the machines now cover a very wide range of printing technologies for different materials and applications.
When it comes to Additive Manufacturing, no two use cases are the same – the optimal balance of weight, strength, hardness, thermal characteristics, flexibility, geometric complexity, surface finish and other characteristics vary from one application to the next. Sandvik is said to work across the entire value chain, from component selection, AM-design and modelling, through material choice/development and optimal printing process, – to post-processing, testing and quality assurance.
Kristian Egeberg, President of Sandvik Additive Manufacturing, stated, “We refer to our process as ‘Plan it. Print it. Perfect it.’ Printing is only one of seven steps you need to master to obtain a perfect AM component. So, you have to think beyond printing to get the best possible value from Additive Manufacturing.”
While much attention in the AM arena focuses on revolutionary designs, the company asserted that innovation at material level is equally important. With its Osprey metal powders, the company has the in-house capability to produce the market’s broadest portfolio of alloys, coupled with the metallurgical expertise to customise the best material for every application.
“We work closely with our customers to tailor alloys in line with their exact requirements, even for small-batch print runs,” added Annika Roos, Head of the Powder Division at Sandvik. “Not only do we match the alloy to the purpose, we can also optimise the particle size for the chosen printing process.”
Sandvik showcased a number of AM customer cases at Formnext 2018 in Frankfurt from November 13-16, highlighting the use of different materials, AM process technologies and tailor-made post-processing methods.
Exhibits included coolant clamps for Seco Tools, produced from maraging steel and featuring curved internal channels to improve cutter performance and lifespan. Also on display were Varel nozzles manufactured from cemented carbide, produced on demand to reduce inventories and featuring tailor-made threads tough enough for drilling in the oil and gas industry, and sliding cases made from maraging steel for LKAB Wassara. The sliding cases are two-piece parts printed as a single unit – featuring internal channels – ready for underground hammer drilling with improved performance and increased service life.