Additive manufacturing is currently one of the most important fields and one that is forecast to undergo significant growth and development as one of the key processes of Advanced Manufacturing. Additive manufacturing, often associated with the term “3D-Printing”, consists of a group of technologies with major innovative potential that is transforming the way in which we conceive, design and manufacture products.
Tknika is behind a drive to create an area of expertise, which apart from Tknika’s own processes, includes projects related to Additive Manufacturing in different vocational training centres. This involves the development of the following:
- At Elgoibar IMH [Institute of machinery and tools]: LMD (Laser Metal Deposition) technology, consisting of the fusion, using a laser, of metallic material in powder form supplied through a coaxial head, which provides the material in the area where the laser beam is acting along the routes set for the production of the part.
- At Goierri Eskola in Ordizia: SLM (Selective Laser Melting) technology, consisting of the selective fusion of thin layers of powder that have previously been deposited, over which a laser beam melts only the required section in each layer.
- At Tknika: arc plasma technology with the contribution of a thread belonging to the DED (Direct Energy Deposition) group, which basically consists of the ordered provision of material in a molten bath format, as a result of fusing a metal wire resulting from a plasma electric arc.
This group of technologies represents a broad range of the technologies available related to Additive Manufacturing. Each is particularly suitable for a specific type of industry solution. Thus, “powder bed”-based processes, such as SLM, are particularly suitable for attaining small or medium-sized parts, with a high level of dimensional accuracy, and with very complex geometry and designs that allow shapes and solutions to be obtained that would be impossible with any other process. Direct laser and powder processes such as those with electric arcs with thread, are especially suitable for obtaining medium-sized and large parts with material deposition rates ranging from 0.15 – 2 kg / hour in the case of LMD, and up to 1.5 – 7 kg / hour in the case of arc and thread processes.
Additive Manufacturing is a technology that is currently undergoing major development and one that is associated with different lines of development, some of which we are working on and interested in:
- The development of practical cases of application in industry, defining manufacturing strategies and procedures.
- The design, simulation and CAM softwares, according to the needs of each process.
- The monitoring technology, process control.
- To metallurgical behaviour of the materials, treatments and residual stresses.
The overall objective of this project is to promote the development of Additive Manufacturing in the Basque Country, as one of the key aspects in advanced “manufacturing”. As a result, we at Tknika need to do the following:
- Be familiar with the state of the art related to the Additive Manufacturing processes.
- Achieve mastery of the plasma Additive Manufacturing process, to become a reference point for vocational training centres.
- Develop and expand the use of Additive Manufacturing and its associated solutions, among the VET centres and via this latter, onto the companies.