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Jeff Rowe
Jeff Rowe
Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »

Sciaky Partners With Concurrent Technologies To Produce BIG AM Parts

June 28th, 2018 by Jeff Rowe

This week, Sciaky, Inc., a leading provider of metal additive manufacturing (AM) solutions, announced that they have entered a strategic partnership with Concurrent Technologies Corporation (CTC) to support growing demand for high quality, large-scale additively manufactured metal parts. CTC will offer Sciaky’s Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) metal 3D printing technology to its manufacturing customers for producing large metal parts.

CTC is an independent, nonprofit, applied scientific research and development professional services organization.

“Sciaky is excited to work with CTC and help educate its clients about the real-world benefits of EBAM technology,” said Scott Phillips, President and CEO of Sciaky, Inc. “When compared to traditional forging methods, EBAM offers significant competitive advantages for customers all over the world by drastically reducing production time, waste, and costs associated with manufacturing large, high-value metal parts.”

“We are extremely pleased to announce this newly formed strategic partnership with Sciaky,” said Edward J. Sheehan, Jr., President and CEO of CTC. “We are grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with the talented team at Sciaky. Our clients will realize numerous benefits thanks to this arrangement.”

Sciaky’s Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) Process

Widely regarded as the most scalable metal additive manufacturing solution in the industry (in terms of work envelope), Sciaky’s EBAM systems can produce parts ranging from 8 inches (203 mm) to 19 feet (5.79 meters) in length. EBAM is also the fastest deposition process in the metal additive manufacturing market, with gross deposition rates ranging from seven to 25 lbs. (3.18 to 11.34 kg) of metal per hour. EBAM brings quality and control together with the Interlayer Real-time Imaging and Sensing System (IRISS), a real-time adaptive control system for the metal 3D printing market that can sense and digitally self-adjust metal deposition with precision and repeatability. This closed-loop control is the primary reason that Sciaky’s EBAM 3D printing process delivers consistent part geometry, mechanical properties, microstructure, and metal chemistry.

Whereas large-scale forgings and castings can take several months to complete, EBAM can produce high quality, large-scale metal structures, made of metals such as titanium, tantalum, and nickel-based alloys in days, with relatively little material waste.

In addition, the EBAM process can be used in any phase of the product life cycle: from rapid prototypes and production parts to repair and remanufacturing applications.

How Does EBAM Work?

With an .stl file from a 3D model, Sciaky’s electron beam gun deposits metal (via wire feedstock), layer by layer, until the part reaches near-net shape and is ready for finish machining. Sciaky’s IRISS (Interlayer Real-time Imaging & Sensing System) is a patented closed-loop control that provides consistent part geometry, mechanical properties, microstructure, and metal chemistry.

With an EBAM dual wirefeed system, you can combine two different metal alloys into a single melt pool, managed with independent program control, to create “custom alloy” parts or ingots. You also have the option of changing the mixture ratio of the two materials, depending upon the features of the part that you are building, to create “graded” parts or structures. You also can alternate between different wire gauges for finer deposition features (thin wire) and gross deposition features (thick wire). These unique benefits are exclusive to the EBAM dual wirefeed process and are not available with any other metal additive manufacturing.

Parts and structures up to 19 ft. x 4 ft. x 4 ft. (5.79 m x 1.22 m x 1.22 m) – or round parts up to 8 ft. (2.44 m) in diameter – can be produced with Sciaky’s EBAM machines. While large-part metal additive manufacturing is itsspecialty, EBAM can also be effective for smaller-scale parts and applications, too. In general, parts starting around 8 in.³ (203³ mm) and larger are the best candidates for the EBAM process.

EBAM Benefits

In a nutshell, Sciaky’s EBAM process has a number of advantages and benefits that include:

  • Reduces material costs, lead times, and machining times (as much as 80%) vs. conventional manufacturing
  • A cost-effective additive manufacturing process for producing large metal parts
  • IRISS Closed-Loop Control Technology ensures process repeatability and traceability (real-time adaptive control)
  • A wide range of material options for large-scale metal applications
  • Sciaky offers the largest build envelope in the world for 3D printed metal parts
  • A wide range of commercially-available metal additive manufacturing systems (in terms of work envelope scalability)
  • EBAM’s dual wirefeed process can feed two different metal alloys into a single melt pool to create parts made of custom alloys. It also allows designers to vary alloy mixtures to produce graded parts. Graded parts can also be produced by switching from thin wire (fine deposition) to thick wire (gross deposition) feedstock
  • EBAM works exceptionally well with refractory alloys and produces significantly less material waste (a big cost-savings advantage). Wire feedstock is significantly less expensive than powder feedstock, it is easier to store, and isn’t highly flammable like some powder feedstocks
  • With EBAM’s pure vacuum environment, the process doesn’t require the use of argon or any inert gas for part shielding
  • Start 3D printing parts in as little as 12 minutes. While EBAM pump down times can vary by chamber size and application, it is still the fastest metal AM process in the market when you consider EBAM’s deposition rate

Sciaky is hardly alone in the burgeoning metal segment of the AM industry, but the sheer size, scalability, and materials of the parts they can handle is impressive. The new partnership with CTC should benefit both parties, as well as their mutual and respective customers.

Editor’s Note: All-Electric Volkswagen Wins Pikes Peak Hill Climb!

Last week we talked about Volkswagen competing in the upcoming Pikes peak Hill Climb with its innovative all-electric sports car, the Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes Peak.

Well, it prevailed and shattered the time record at the event, finishing in 7.57.148 minutes, Volkswagen Driver Romain Dumas (F) crossed the finish line in Volkswagen’s first-ever, fully-electric race car, the I.D. R Pikes Peak – a next-generation racecar developed with ANSYS simulation solutions.

With ANSYS solutions, Volkswagen Motorsport engineers ­­­­­conducted complete virtual drive tests of the entire race and optimized battery cooling system with minimal weight and aerodynamic drag loss. ANSYS solutions also enabled engineers to replicate the course’s extreme driving conditions.

“Behind the wheel of the 680-horsepower sports car prototype, Dumas mastered the track and the battery cooling system performed precisely as our simulations predicted,” said François-Xavier Demaison, technical director at Volkswagen Motorsport and I.D. R Pikes Peak project. “ANSYS provided us the competitive edge to outperform the high altitude and challenging turns and set a new world record.”

Well done, VW!

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