Monday, 23rd April 2018

Thinking beyond printing for full additive manufacturing value

RAPID 2018, 24 – 26 April, Fort Worth Convention Center, Texas, USA

Sandvik booth number 818


Additive manufacturing is described as one of the most important and disruptive technologies to have emerged in recent years. But could a narrow focus on printing technologies alone mean that we won’t get the full potential out of additive manufacturing.

“The thing is that additive manufacturing is so much more than just the printing part,” says Kristian Egeberg, President of Sandvik’s Additive Manufacturing business.

According to Kristian Egeberg, understanding the full value chain for additive manufacturing (AM) is the key to unlocking its full potential to boost product innovation, business profitability – and environmental advantages.

“Today, many of the customers approaching us have the same question – What can we print? But if you go into AM thinking about how to merely recreate existing components, you can feel that AM is a solution in search of a problem,” says Egeberg.

A better starting point is to consider your products, applications – and even business operations as a whole. From there, you can identify where functions or efficiencies can be improved with new design approaches, material choices and/or a reimagined supply chain.

In additive manufacturing, printing makes up just one of seven steps you need to master. The steps before and after the printing are equally important.

“With more than 150 years in the metal industry, few understand the secrets of additive manufacturing like Sandvik does. Metallurgy runs through every step of AM. It also happens to be our specialty and DNA. As world-leading manufacturers of gas-atomized AM-powders and leading experts in post processing methods, such as heat treatment and machining, Sandvik masters every step of the additive manufacturing value chain, “says Egeberg.

Sandvik’s offering within additive manufacturing includes both advisory and manufacturing services – as well as metal powder, where Sandvik offers a very broad variety of alloys for AM.

To get the optimal value from additive manufacturing, the Sandvik additive team takes its customer through a three-phase process, covering the complete value chain: Plan it. Print it. Perfect it. All are equally important.

Phase one (Plan it) is all about selecting what to print, choose the most optimal material, develop the best possible design – and select the right AM technology for the end-product.

For phase two (Print it), Sandvik is equipped to print using Powder Bed Fusion (both laser and electron beam) and Binder Jetting. The choice of additive technology depends on the material and the desired characteristics of the end-component.

In phase three (Perfect it), because additively produced components rarely emerge from a printer 'ready to use', specialist post processing is generally required. This is an area where Sandvik has over 75 years of leading expertise, both in heat treatment and in machining, and thus the ability to determine an optimal finishing process to the specific application. And as in any other form of manufacturing, quality assurance is vital.

Sandvik exhibits additive-customer cases at Rapid.

This year at the AM event Rapid, 23–26 April, Fort Worth Convention Center in Texas, USA, Sandvik is presenting its capabilities within additive manufacturing (booth number 818). Four customer cases, in different development stages, are also displayed that have two important things in common. One, that they are all genuine industrial components, not prototypes. And two, that they all evolved into something quite different – and better – than what was expected when the projects were initially started.

While it is still relatively early days for additive manufacturing, the developments within this field is accelerating fast.

“Making the most of the additive manufacturing advantage and opportunity means rethinking everything and bringing together different experts from several important steps in the AM value chain – not just investing in a single metal printer. What is great with Sandvik is that we have all these capabilities in-house already,” says Kristian Egeberg.



Add a comment


Thank you for your contribution

Your comment will appear on the site once approved.

Sorry something has happen! Please try again.


Back to press