High-precision fixture solutions for industry
Is it possible to replace a cast aluminium component with a plastic 3D printed component?
In this project, the challenge was to adapt the design of the pipe elbow to additive manufacturing in such a way that all requirements for stability, surface quality and dimensional accuracy could be guaranteed without exceeding the target production time of 1/3 of the conventional method. In order to be really sure that no failure occurs in the running process at up to 6 bar water pressure, a detailed material investigation with subsequent FEM simulation was carried out.
It became clear that the final component would weigh just over 200kg and we had to come up with something to meet the low production time target. In the end, only the VFGF process enabled us to combine the high demands on accuracy and stability. We specifically used the high-resolution detail mode for the flange and the inner surface in contact with the water. Since the entire remaining wall serves to give the component its stability, the turbo mode was used here, whose much thicker webs drastically reduce the production time and also fuse together more stably.
Only with the granulate-based VFGF process was it possible to produce this component economically and within 2 weeks. Without the variable nozzle, the component would have taken over 6 weeks to print at the same resolution, and in a filament printer with an average output of 30g/h, it would even have taken 40 weeks.
If you also need large components in a short time, please contact us. We will be happy to find out together with you whether the additive manufacturing process is also the right one for you.
For 150 years, Voith has been offering everything needed for the efficient and forward-looking use of hydropower. The portfolio includes all components for large and small hydropower plants as well as for pumped storage power plants – from generators, turbines, pumps and automation systems to digital solutions for the entire life cycle of the plants.
Facts & Figures
Material: PLA + Colour pigments
Druckdauer: 23 hours
Weight: 4,5 kg
Measurement result: Position tolerance < 0,2 mm
Big & functional
Down to the smallest detail, the 3D data is put to the test and validated by our 3D experts.
It took only 340 hours to print the pipe elbow in one piece. To ensure stability during the printing process and to prevent the component from tilting, a support structure was printed on the rectangular side of the intake manifold, which could be removed afterwards.
The special feature of this component is that the shape changes from rectangular to round, which means that the pressure of the water flowing through can be significantly increased and thus more energy can be generated. In order to combine these two shapes, conventional methods are not suitable for this application. So Voith decided to implement the project using 3D printing.
Competence to the power of two
Fixture-Know-how/measured by: Carl Zeiss Fixture Systems GmbH, 3D-Print: Q.BIG 3D