Shimoda selects MX3D’s WAAM for Japan’s wind energy industry

March 11, 2022

Shimoda Iron Works intends to use MX3D’s WAAM technology for the production of forged flanges and fittings for the oil & gas and energy industries (Courtesy MX3D)

MX3D, based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, has announced that the first of its M1 Metal AM Systems sent to Japan will be installed at the Shimoda Iron Works Co Ltd’s factory in Aioi-City. This decision was made after the successful collaboration between MX3D and Takenaka Corporation, one of the largest Japanese construction companies, for the production of duplex stainless steel structural connectors using Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM), a wire-based Directed Energy Deposition (DED) process. After the project’s success, Shimoda chose to invest in the technology and it intends to produce these metal nodes onsite.

“The M1 Metal AM System allows us to start printing optimised parts for various industries, including wind power industry immediately,” stated Shinji Shimoda, president of Shimoda Iron Works. “We were impressed by the ease of use and the quality of the materials. Moreover, this new process is attractive to us because it will contribute to SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals] by minimising both material and energy loss. MX3D’s M1 makes Shimoda the number one expert in robotic WAAM in Japan, a technology that we believe will see a bright future.”

The M1 Metal AM System consists of an enclosed, off-the-shelf, welding robot integrated with the MetalXL software and MetalXL Control System. With eight degrees of freedom and all essential sensors, this system provides a full WAAM workflow, including advanced CAM, build monitoring and post-manufacturing data analytics.

The M1 Metal AM System is composed of an enclosed off-the-shelf welding robot and is integrated with the MetalXL software and Control System (Courtesy MX3D)

Shimoda specialises in the production of forged flanges and fittings for the oil & gas and energy industries, including the offshore wind market. Wind turbine parts require a consistent serial production method, with high deposit rates, to manufacture high performance large metal parts. The company has stated that this should be another good fit for MX3D’s Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing. By digitising and reshoring production, the wind turbine industry can become less dependent on foreign casting and forging companies with extensive lead times.

By leading this investigation on the benefits of Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing for Japanese industries, Shimoda hopes to bring the country’s market a step closer to Industry 4.0. It expects to accomplish this not only by additively manufacturing existing components in a more efficient manner, but utilising Design for Additive Manufacturing (DfAM) in an effort to strengthen the competitiveness of the Japanese manufacturing sector.

“WAAM is industry ready and it is exciting to see a company like Shimoda apply this technology in various industries,” commented Gijs van der Velden, CEO of MX3D. “I am proud that Shimoda, a company with a clear focus on high productivity, chose the M1 by MX3D. It validates our focus on building an industrial machine capable of running continuous productions efficiently thanks to the control of our monitoring system.”

He continued, “MX3D focuses on creating an easy to use, industry-grade 3D metal printer, against a very competitive price point. Shimoda’s acquisition of the M1 Metal AM System shows that the use of 3D metal printers is not limited anymore to aerospace and Formula1. Now, the technology finally has become available for productions at metalworking companies all over the world, and with that, the founding vision of MX3D – to scale up 3D metal printing and make it available for all high impact industries – is becoming a reality. Exciting stuff!”

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