Often called the New Industrial Revolution, additive manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is transforming the way companies approach the production of complex parts and systems. AM’s influence is being seen across a multitude of industries.
Metal additive manufacturing has made tremendous strides in the aerospace industry, starting with GE Aviation’s fuel nozzle for the LEAP engine, which has led to the development of multiple parts that are taking flight. The orthopaedics market was also an early adopter of the technology. Additive is playing a growing role in the ongoing evolution of more personalised and bespoke medical treatment. Today, it is used for a wide range of orthopaedic implants and is helping designers and specialists reimagine medical instruments and equipment.
And today, we are seeing the additive manufacturing community come together to ply their talents and offer solutions for challenges we are facing today.
Multitrade 3D Systems have signed an official sales partner agreement with GE Additive and will be promoting their Mlab cusing 200R and M2 cusing Multilaser machines in South Africa
“3D printing hobbyists and professionals alike are offering their skills and resources to hospitals in this time of crisis, recognising the need that 3D printing can potentially fill. While its original purpose was to help OEMs and other companies fill supply chain gaps with 3D printed parts and tooling, they could also be a resource for hospitals, clinics and other healthcare providers who need critical items to care for patients,” says Pamela Van Jaarsveld, Managing Director of Multitrade 3D Systems.
“However, if you are a medical professional, to find a local metal additive manufacturing specialist could be a challenge. The reality is that there are only a handful of commercial companies in South Africa that have equipment to 3D print products with complex geometries including elements such as freeform surfaces and deep slots. The Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing (CRPM) at the Central University of Technology, Free State and the Vaal University of Technology (VUT), Vanderbijlpark are also involved in research and development of components and products,” continued Van Jaarsveld.
The fact that there are so few companies that have the equipment that is needed at this critical time when ventilators and other such products that need to be rapidly developed, could set us back.
“Forget the hype about PPE (personal protective equipment). 3D printing is not the process to manufacture this equipment but rather can be the solution to produce the moulds that are used to manufacture the gloves, gowns, masks, goggles or face shields and respirators.”
The M2 cusing family is the workhorse of the GE Additive product portfolio and is used across a wide range of industries, such as aerospace, automotive, medical and dental and is well-suited to scenarios and applications where industrialisation is a key outcome, especially for medium-sized parts
“AM is a good choice for replacement parts, small batches, rapid development of new items, and situations where a tool (like an injection mould) will be too costly or time-consuming to source. AM can build complex geometries that might not be possible with other methods, and potentially offers other benefits like the ability to combine multiple parts into one or to produce a lighter end product using less material. Do not get this equipment confused with the readily available and relatively cheap desktop 3D printers. They have their place and are used very successfully by many companies, especially those that are looking for a quick visual inspection of a component or product,” explained Van Jaarsveld.
Multitrade 3D Systems, is an official sales representative in South Africa for GE Additive’s metal additive manufacturing machines. The machines create parts using direct metal laser melting technology, which deposits thin layers of metal powder and fuses them together using lasers. The parts are built directly from a CAD file, so there is no need for fixtures or tooling.
“The powder-bed-based laser melting of metals opens up new freedoms when it comes to configuring parts and also permits the tool-free, economic fabrication of highly complex components in fairly small batch sizes. Customers come from many different sectors of industry, for example medical and dental technology, the aerospace industry, toolmaking and mould construction, the automotive industry and the watch and jewellery industry. Among other materials, Concept Laser’s 3D metal printers process powder materials of stainless steel and hot-work steels, aluminium and titanium alloys and for jewellery making precious metals.”
GE Aviation’s fuel nozzle for the LEAP engine
Multitrade 3D Systems offers a variety of metal additive machines with different build volumes for multiple applications. The Mlab 200R allows for the use of reactive materials and is suited for high surface quality and intricate parts structures. The M2 cusing family is the workhorse of the GE Additive product portfolio and are used across a wide range of industries, such as aerospace, automotive, medical and dental and is well-suited to scenarios and applications where industrialisation is a key outcome, especially for medium-sized parts.
“Customers, especially in the aerospace and medical industries, have high expectations. GE Additive machines have been the go-to solutions for these industries, and Multitrade 3D Systems is proud to represent them in the South African market,” said Van Jaarsveld.
Recently GE Additive machines have been used to create 3D printed parts that are used in the latest generation Cessna Denali engine, and Callaway Golf Company is breaking the mould by redesigning putter heads with Additive Manufacturing.
For further details contact Multitrade 3D Systems on TEL: 011 453 8034 or visit http://multitradedistributors.co.za/page/3d-printing