Titomic, the Australian industrial scale additive manufacturing company, has launched what it claims is the world’s largest metal 3D printer with a demonstration in its native Melbourne. The demo follows an MoU with Fincantieri Australia this week, which aims to evaluate how this technology can benefit maritime manufacturing processes.
Titomic, the Australian industrial scale additive manufacturing company, has officially launched its metal 3D printer in front of onlookers at a mega-warehouse in Melbourne. The company believe this printer is the world’s largest and fastest metal 3D printer.
The company’s 3D printing technology is known as Titomic Kinetic Fusion. Developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and exclusively commercialized by Titomic, the process is capable of manufacturing and polishing a complete bicycle frame from titanium in approximately 35 minutes. Other potential uses include the production of aircraft wings and ship hulls.
Titomic boss Jeff Lang, explains: “The reality is when you look at the metals industry nothing’s changed fundamentally in 5000 years… The Greeks invented the process of digging a resource out of the ground, melting it and folding it into a metal shapes… When we talk about the standard metal printers, they’re still based on that fundamental technology. Our process completely defies that.”
Fincantieri Australia, a division of Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, is one manufacturing organization already working with Titomic. The companies have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (or MoU) which will last for 12 months. During this time, Titomic will investigate how its 3D printer can be effectively used during Fincantieri Australia’s manufacturing process.
Titomic Kinetic Fusion Technology Involves Shooting Metal at Scaffolding
Lang describes the process behind Titomic Kinetic Fusion as “a bit like throwing a ball at a wall.” Titomic Kinetic Fusion is a cold-spray process in which a gas-powered jet stream is used to accelerate titanium and other metal particles to high speeds. Robots then shoot the resulting mixture at a scaffolding structure, which the accelerated particles fuse to and build upon.
Such a process, the company claims, offers the benefit of stronger structures not subject to heat stresses in production and the ability to fuse dissimilar metals to achieve special properties in a final part.
The new machine demonstrated today can create parts up to 9 meters long, three meters wide and 1.5 meters high. Impressively, these metal prints could go even bigger with the appropriate configuration applied to the printer’s settings.
In order to create such large parts, the machine itself also has to be large. It comes in at 40m x 20m.
The reason for creating such a huge printer was that, rather than simply exporting titanium, the Australian government invested time and money on studying new uses for the metal. As a result, this project has been in the works since 2007.
Lang explains: “Our idea is to sell this technology. To put it on the map and … push titanium powder… It’s what we believe is the first in the world at this scale and this capability. We know the build-speed of the part is 45kg per hour. Generally, the normal metal 3D printer is about 1kg in 24 hours.”
Lang adds that with such technology available, it’s time for engineers to go back to the drawing board and re-imagine what’s possible.
Source: SBS News