3D Printing Provides Innovation for Nearly Century Old Manufacturer

Article by: Peter Fretty Jul 15, 2020

As we have covered in recent months, COVID-19 played a pivotal role putting additive manufacturing on the map for manufacturers who otherwise had not taken its potential role seriously. For those willing to explore, additive has been enabled companies to speed up the prototyping process, enabled manufactures to build tooling without traditional delays. Of course, the true wins occur when the maturing technology enables meaningful innovations. And, true innovation often comes from the places you least expect.

Case in point: For more than 90 years, John Zink Hamworthy Combustion has operated on the outskirts of Tulsa, Oklahoma, building emissions control and clean air combustion systems, which production facilities around the world depend on to meet or exceed emissions standards. The company custom engineers burners, gas recovery and vapor control systems for a wide variety of energy, petrochemical and manufacturing customers.John Zink is a globally recognized leader in this space, but 21st century emissions problems require 21st century solutions. To help their customers meet rigorous environmental and efficiency standards, John Zink, a part of Koch Industries, recently invested in metal 3d printing technology from Desktop Metal to create parts that are engineered-to-order and optimized for each customer’s specific application.

“Engineers and designers are now able to create the designs they need to optimize each part’s function. In the past, tooling severely limited — and often strong-armed — design creativity. With 3D printing on our Studio System, designers can now transform their square peg/square hole mentality into free-form configurations and even complex geometries like fluted octagons,” Jonah Myerberg, CTO of Desktop Metal tells IndustryWeek. “This is a game changer for the industry as a whole, allowing companies like John Zink to produce custom, on-demand parts faster, cheaper and often times more optimal than with traditional means.”

After several months of working with the Desktop Metal Studio System, the world’s first office-friendly metal 3D printing system for rapid prototyping and low volume production, the companies today are sharing early results of the new additive manufacturing technology, which include:

  • Quick turnaround aftermarket replacement parts;
  • The ability to test different iterations of prototype designs faster;
  • Eliminating the need for casting tooling, saving both time and money because parts can now be printed in-house; and
  • Freedom of creating part designs that cannot be manufactured by traditional methods and can only be 3D printed.

“Our primary goal at John Zink is to custom engineer new systems that eliminate waste so our customers can operate safely and efficiently,” said Jason Harjo, design manager, John Zink. “Additive manufacturing rewrites the book on what is possible from a design standpoint, and working with Desktop Metal allows us a very low-cost entry point into the technology. The versatility of the Studio System has enabled our engineers and designers to find both applications for the technology as well as design and performance benefits we hadn’t even considered.”

Fuel Atomizer–Cost Savings 75%; Time Savings 37%

As a leader in developing innovative solutions to reduce emissions,John Zink has long understood that using atomizers to improve the fuel-air mix inside burners is one easy way to help customers minimize their environmental footprint. Using the Studio System, the company’s designers and engineers were able to prototype and test a variety of options before ultimately creating a radical new design featuring sweeping, airfoil-like fins. The geometric freedom of 3D printing even allowed them to reconsider the shape of the holes -instead of drilling round holes, the part is built with flat openings to improve atomization and increase burner efficiency. Where the previous design was able to reduce fuel use to 120 kilograms per hour, the new design cut fuel use to just 38 kilograms per hour. With three burners per ship, the environmental impact across an entire fleet can be huge. The savings can be equally significant -per ship, the new atomizer could save companies between $90,000 and $160,000 in fuel costs annually, and can be produced in few days for less than half the cost of a traditionally manufactured fuel atomizer.

Fuel Atomizer customizing designed and printed with Desktop Metal Studio System
Burner Tip customizing designed and printed with Desktop Metal Studio System

YE-6 Burner Tip–Cost Savings 72%

A key component in the efficient operation of industrial burners, burner tips are used to control the injection of fuel into the combustion chamber, or as atomizers, mixing fuel with an atomizing medium like steam to increase burner efficiency. The burner tip -originally cast and post-processed via CNC machining -was first manufactured 30 years ago, and the tooling used to produce it is no longer available. Because the part is too complex to machine as a single component, manufacturing spare parts using traditional techniques would require large investments in both time and money. Instead, John Zink engineers looked to 3D printing to produce a cost-effective replacement burner tip. Using the original engineering drawings, they modeled the burner tip and printed the part on the Studio System.The finished part was produced in just weeks -as opposed to months -and cost significantly less than a cast part -just a few hundred dollars versus a few thousand dollars.

Laser Gas Nozzle–Impossible Geometry for Traditional Manufacturing

A useful tool found in many machine shops, laser cutters can make precise cuts in a variety of materials.The challenge for John Zink engineers was the cutter’s nozzle could become clogged or slag could build up on the edges of cut parts, requiring labor-intensive post-processing. The solution they found was to use the Studio System to design and print an entirely new nozzle, one that incorporates a series of internal channels to direct high-pressure nitrogen gas across the cuts and blow away slag, preventing clogs and ensuring cleaner cuts. The complex geometry of the new nozzle could only be made using additive technology, and was printed in metal after an earlier version -printed from PLA plastic -melted at higher temperatures. Machine Tool Handles–When Plastic Just Won’t WorkAdditive technology has helped John Zink engineers recreate legacy parts and redesign existing parts, as well as helped them find creative solutions that improve how they manufacture those parts. Designed by a machinist with three decades of experience at John Zink, these handles were created to make it easier to lift and place heavy tools in a lathe, and were printed using the Studio System after the initial parts -printed in plastic -broke. The handles were printed rather than machined to minimize waste -each handle would have to be made from a relatively large piece of metal -and to leave machine shop capacity free for customer jobs.

Safety Shutoff Yoke and Handles–Less Down Time with Huge Savings

A key piece of safety equipment, this shutoff yoke and handles are installed on the USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19), which provides command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence support to the commander and staff of the United States Seventh Fleet. Because no tooling exists for this part, creating them via 3D printing was the most time-and cost-effective option for manufacturing. For customers, the payoff has come in less down time -printed parts can be in their hands and installed in days rather than weeks or months -and significant savings, both in part costs, and in fuel, thanks to innovative new designs that can only be manufactured via 3D printing.

“By eliminating the need for hard tooling with the Studio System,John Zink engineers have been able to produce innovative new parts, reproduce parts for which tooling no longer exists and find creative solutions to improving their workflow,” said Myerberg. “As a result, their team has been able to significantly speed up the design, manufacture and deployment of parts, while saving money and delivering parts faster to customers.”

According to Myerberg, as companies like John Zink look to expand their Additive Manufacturing capabilities, adopting additional technology like the Desktop Metal Shop System will help “broaden their portfolio, taking them from prototyping and aftermarket replacement parts to true mid-volume production runs of complex metal parts. Expanding their product portfolio will open up even more opportunities to provide the right solutions to their customers and further reduce costs.”

Please do read the official article here and you can also download the official E-Book by Desktop Metal here.

Read More

Lino3D will participate in Nanotexnology 2020, 4-11/7 in Thessaloniki

We are proud to announce you that Lino3D will participate in the upcoming Nanotexnology 2020 Conference in Thessaloniki.

We are expecting you in the official Nanotexnology 2020 exhibition from 6th to 10th of July. Come visit us at our booth and learn more about how Nanotexnology and 3D printing are two technologies inextricably linked.

Do not miss our Presentation on Nanotexnology 2020 Virtual Event on Wednesday, 8th of July.

Check the event’s program on https://www.nanotexnology.com/

See you in Thessaloniki!

Read More

BMW Group opens its new Additive Manufacturing campus with Desktop Metal’s Participation

The BMW Group has officially opened its new Additive Manufacturing Campus in Munich, Germany. The new centre, which began development in April 2018, is said to bring together the production of metal and plastic prototype and series parts under one roof, as well as research into new AM technologies, and associate training for the global rollout of toolless production. 

The campus is the result of an investment of €15 million and is expected to allow the BMW Group to develop its position as technology leader in the utilisation of Additive Manufacturing in the automotive industry. In 2019, BMW produced about 300,000 parts by AM. The new AM Campus currently employs up to eighty associates and operates about fifty industrial AM machines that work with metals and plastics.

BMW’s Additive Manufacturing campus employs up to eighty associates and operates about fifty industrial AM machines (Courtesy The BMW Group)

Our goal is to industrialise 3D printing methods more and more for automotive production, and to implement new automation concepts in the process chain.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Milan Nedeljković, BMW AG Board Member for Production, stated, “Additive Manufacturing is already an integral part of our worldwide production system today, and established in our digitalisation strategy. In the future, new technologies of this kind will shorten production times even further and allow us to benefit even more fully from the potential of toolless manufacturing.”

“Our goal is to industrialise 3D printing methods more and more for automotive production, and to implement new automation concepts in the process chain,” added Daniel Schäfer, Senior Vice President for Production Integration and Pilot Plant at the BMW Group. “This will allow us to streamline component manufacturing for series production and speed up development.”

“At the same time, we are collaborating with vehicle development, component production, purchasing and the supplier network,” he continued, “as well as various other areas of the company to systematically integrate the technology and utilise it effectively.”

Cooperating with the AM industry to drive development

The advancement of AM at BMW has been the result of many years of in-house expertise and cooperations to advance the technology. Jens Ertel, Director of the Additive Manufacturing Campus, explained, “Over the last thirty years or so, the BMW Group has developed comprehensive skills, which we’ll continue to enhance on our new campus, which has the latest machines and technologies.”

“In addition, we develop and design components that are faster to produce than by conventional means, offer flexibility in terms of  their form, and are also more functional,” Ertel continued. “We are working hard to mature Additive Manufacturing fully and benefit from it as far as possible throughout the product life-cycle, from the first vehicle concept through to production, aftersales and its use in classic vehicles.”

A part produced using Desktop Metal Additive Manufacturing technology at BMW’s Additive Manufacturing Campus (Courtesy The BMW Group)

Access to the latest technologies is reportedly gained through long-standing partnerships with leading manufacturers and universities, and by scouting for industry newcomers. In 2017, The BMW Group became involved with Desktop Metal’s sinter-based metal AM technologies, and continues to collaborate closely with the company. 

In the same year, BMW I Ventures – the group’s venture capital division – invested in the US start-up Xometry, a platform for on-demand manufacturing, including advanced technologies such as AM.

Its latest investment was in the German start-up ELISE, which allows engineers to produce ‘component DNA’ containing all the technical requirements for the part, from load requirements and manufacturing restrictions to costs and potential optimisation parameters. ELISE then uses this data, along with established development tools, to automatically generate optimised components.

Additive Manufacturing in research and pre-development at BMW Group

The pre-development unit of the Additive Manufacturing Campus optimises new technologies and materials for comprehensive use across the company. The main focus is on automating process chains that have previously required large amounts of manual work, to make AM more economical and viable for use on an industrial scale over the longer term.

For the development of AM processes for use on an industrial scale, research projects are especially important. BMW is involved in several of these projects, such as the Industrialisation and Digitisation of Additive Manufacturing for Automotive Series Production (IDAM) project, supported by the German Ministry of Education and Research. 

One of the Additive Manufacturing Campus’s eighty staff inspects a metal additively manufactured component (Courtesy The BMW Group)

With IDAM, the BMW Group and its twelve project partners hope to pave the way for the integration of AM into series production environments within the automotive industry. At the Additive Manufacturing Campus, a production line is being set up that replicates the entire process chain, from the preparation of digital production through to manufacture and reworking of components. 

The IDAM team is now preparing it for the specific requirements of series, individual and spare-part production. According to the group, production targets confirm the status of this collaborative undertaking as a lighthouse project: output is expected to total at least 50,000 series components a year, with over 10,000 individual and spare parts, all produced to a very high quality.

Applications in series production

The BMW Group first began its Additive Manufacturing of prototype parts in 1991, for concept vehicles. By 2010, both metal Additive Manufacturing and plastic AM processes were being rolled out across the group, initially in smaller series, to produce items such as the additively manufactured water pump wheel in DTM race cars. 

Further series production applications followed from 2012 onward, with a range of components for the Rolls-Royce Phantom, BMW i8 Roadster (2017) and MINI John Cooper Works GP (2020), which contains four AM components as standard.

Read original article here.

Read More

New Case Study by PostProcess and Splitvision: Building on Manufacturing Expertise with Automated 3D Post-Printing

Splitvision, headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, found the ideal product development formula by combining its talented design team and deep manufacturing experience to deliver competitive solutions for its customers. However, to continually to deliver on that promise requires a culture that embraces leading-edge manufacturing methods and process. That is what brought Splitvision to PostProcess, as they explored a better way to streamline and maximize its 3D printing with DLP resin removal innovation.

QUESTION: Can you give us some background on Splitvision and how you utilize additive manufacturing?

ANSWER:We have been developing products since 1989. From initially strictly offering industrial design, we have broadened our service portfolio over the years to become a full turnkey solution provider for product realization. We have always made prototypes from Polyurethane (PU) foams or solid plastic materials to evaluate form and ergonomics, which we have traditionally done using hand tools. On more detailed prototypes or models with high cosmetic demands, we used to outsource to either print shops in Sweden, or prototype services in China. In 2019, we decided to invest in a Digital Light Processing (DLP) printer from 3D Systems called Figure 4 to speed up our processes while achieving better mechanical properties and fine feature details. In our experience, this is the only printer that can equip soft parts with Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE)-like performance.Since many of the products we develop and produce for the hearing aid industry are comprised of a combination of both TPE and hard plastic, this was a deciding factor. We can now evaluate fit and assembly on a detail level before actu-ally making the injection tools, typically saving us from 1-2 iterations of tool tuning. We also design casings for electron-ic products, and by using the Figure 4 printer to make smallseries production of those, it is possible for our customers to do field testing and user studies without investing in mass production tools. Needless to say, the DLP printer has brought massive value not only to our workflow, but to our customers as well.

QUESTION: Before introducing the PostProcess solution, what sort of bottlenecks did you experience in your additive workflow?

ANSWER: The design casings that I mentioned of-ten have lots of intricate crevices like screw towers, small slots, and many ribs. It can be a very tedious job to fully clean the resin off of these features with a traditional solution like isopropyl alcohol (IPA). That excess manual labor makes the unit cost for those parts unnecessarily high. Even if the printer used is efficient and several parts can be manufactured in one run, the unit cost still does not go down much since so much time is needed to clean each part in-dividually.

Example DLP parts from Figure 4 printer

Apart from being time-consuming, the work environment also gets compromised by the strong smell from the IPA. Not to mention, we were always concerned about the fire risk posed by IPA. That is where the PostProcess solution was able to really streamline our post-printing process and improve workplace safety overall.

QUESTION: How did the PostProcess solution fit into your additive workflow, and how has it most significantly improved your efficiencies/work environment?

ANSWER: In January 2020, we got the opportunity to try a resin removal system from PostProcess that utilizes their proprietary Submersed Vortex Cavitation (SVC) technol-ogy. The system uses ultrasonic cleaning, agitation, and controlled temperature for the process. The detergent included with the system has a high flammability point, which means it does not ignite from a spark at the machine’s working temperature. Apart from being more pleasant to work with, the detergent seems to be especially efficient at dissolving the uncured DLP resin. Usually, it removes resin completely in just a matter of minutes. In some cases, with deep narrow features, the cycle time can be a little longer, but we have never had a part require more than 10 minutes of processing time.

As an example, a small electronics case took about 30 minutesper part for rinsing and drying. Previously, it was difficult to see if it was fully clean before drying off the IPA with compressed air. You would have to rewash it in IPA, use a brush where it was not clean, and repeat it a few times until it looked good. Now, running this same part in the PostProcess solution, the total cycle time for consistently complete resin removal is only 4 to 5 minutes for a batch of 10 at once. The benefit here you can see is improving from 30 minutes per part down to all 10 parts in less than 5 minutes.

Thanks to how efficient the PostProcess solution is within our workflow, we can now leave the support structure intact on parts when we need to do UV post-treatment of the DLP resin. This was never pre-viously possible with traditional IPA cleaning because it was extremely difficult to get rid of all uncured resin behind the supports. An added bonus is that we can load printed parts into the PostProcess machine without ever removing them from the build tray, eliminating the need to clean the tray separately, removing another tedious process.

We can now offer printed parts at a reasonable price, especially when printing multiple items in one run. Plus, the nasty bit of the printing process has been eliminated for our staff. After having tried the PostProcess solution, it’s hard to imagine ever going back to using IPA.

About Splitvision

Starting out as a design agency, we have over the years integrated the design process with a manufacturing system that can ensure our customers original idea’s integrity while maintaining control over costs and speed up the time to market. We are designers, engineers, buyers, sourcing specialists, QC specialists, logisticians, project managers and businesspeople who love to make good things. We have offices in Stockholm, Sweden and in Shenzhen, China. With more than 30 years of experience in product development, we strive to direct our talented design team to deliver competitive solutions to our customers using our expertise within; Design Strategy, Product and Transportation Design, HMI / GUI, Advanced 3D Modelling, Mechanical Engineering, and Prototypes.

But what really makes us unique is our manufacturing experience so when engaging Splitvision for product design, you also get access to significant manufacturing experience as well. We offer manufacturing services within a wide range of techniques and materials through a trusted partner network. The main focus is on injection molded plastic with high functional and cosmetic demands. Our customers range from start-up-brands outsourcing the production of their core product, to large corporations out-sourcing the design and manufacturing of their accessories. Learn more at www.splitvision.com

About PostProcessPostProcess

Technologies is the only provider of automated and intelligent post-printing solutions for 3D printed parts. Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Buffalo, NY, USA, with international operations in Sophia-Antipolis, France, PostPro-cess removes the bottleneck in the third step of 3D printing – post-printing – through patent-pending software, hardware, and chemistry technologies. The company’s solutions automate industrial 3D printing’s most common post-printing pro-cesses with a software-based approach, including support, resin, and powder removal, as well as surface finishing, resulting in “customer-ready” 3D printed parts. Additionally, as an innovator of software-based 3D post-printing, PostProcess solu-tions will enable the full digitization of AM through the post-print step for the Industry 4.0 factory floor. The PostProcess portfolio has been proven across all major industrial 3D printing technologies and is in use daily in every imaginable manu-facturing sector.

2495 Main St., Suite 615, Buffalo NY 14214

Les Aqueducs B3, 535 Route des Lucioles, 06560 Sophia Antipolis, France
+33 (0)4 22 32 68 13

e-mail: info@postprocess.com
official website: www.postprocess.com

Read More