Additive Technologies and 3D Scanning in Mechanical Engineering: 7 Success Stories

    3D technologies are increasingly becoming the focus of major Russian industrial exhibitions, which reflects the willingness of enterprises to implement innovative 3D solutions in their production chains. So, at the Metalworking-2018 exhibition, additive technologies were first presented at a separate site; Digital production has become the main theme of the Innoprom International Industrial Exhibition, which was held in July 2018 in Yekaterinburg.

    For engineering, as one of the key sectors of the Russian economy, the development of new equipment and the application of advanced solutions are extremely important. 3D technology fully meets these needs. Improving, they provide increasing efficiency, allowing enterprises to reduce and simplify the process and optimize production costs.

    For example, creating a prototype on a 3D printer will take not months, as in a traditional production, but only a few hours. Significantly saved time spent on finalizing the design and launching the product in mass production, and, accordingly, the cost of the entire project is reduced. Thanks to the use of 3D scanners and software for reverse engineering and geometry control, time and money are reduced by an average of 1.5 times.

    Benefits of 3D Printing

    • Production of parts with geometry of any complexity , which leaves far behind the possibilities of traditional methods.
    • Optimization of product parameters such as accuracy and strength, as well as weight reduction due to the creation of superthin walls, internal channels and bionic structures.
    • Acceleration and reduction of the cost of the production process: there is no need to use expensive equipment, and in some cases, machining.
    • Improving the profitability of the production of small-scale and customized products.
    • Reducing design risks and errors, including due to the possibility of design changes at later stages of design.
    • Management of physical and mechanical properties of the product through the use of high-tech materials.

    Tasks solved in engineering using 3D printing

    1. Functional testing and prototyping.
    2. Production of technical prototypes for testing the design of products.
    3. Carrying out technological experiments.
    4. Checking products for ergonomics.
    5. Creation of master models for casting, including for lost wax and burned models.
    6. Fast tooling production.
    7. Production of mold-forming elements of molds for molding thermoplastics and light materials.
    8. Production of functional parts for a variety of units and assemblies.
    9. Creation of complex structures, including solid ones, which were previously assembled from many elements.

    3D printing technology for engineering companies

    • Deposits (FDM).
    • Full Color Inkjet Printing (CJP).
    • Multi Inkjet Printing (MJP).
    • Laser stereolithography (SLA).
    • Selective Laser Melting (SLM).
    • Selective Laser Sintering (SLS).

    Benefits of 3D Scanning

    • High speed scanning devices.
    • Accurate measurements in actual use.
    • Ability to integrate into automated production systems .
    • Measurement of any objects, regardless of size, complexity, material or color.
    • Simplicity and convenience in work.

    Tasks solved using 3D scanners and specialized software

    1. Reverse engineering (reverse engineering), obtaining finished drawings.
    2. Metrological control of products in the manufacturing process, wear analysis.
    3. Control of geometry, deformation and damage to products.
    4. Quality control .
    5. Digital archiving.

    7 success stories

    Hydraulic Valve Block

    Final 3D block valve CAD file ready for 3D printing

    The design of the new hydraulic valve block, developed by VTT and Nurmi Cylinders, has been optimized using Selective Laser Melting (SLM) technology, which saves significant weight, volume and material. As a result, a product was created whose weight is 66% less than the original model. Thanks to the innovative design, it was possible to optimize the fluid flow through the internal channels and solve the leakage problem.

    Project in detail

    Liquid and gas

    mixer Scheme of an all-metal mixer created using SLM technology. Bottom right: the original 12-element model

    The Jurec Rapid Prototyping Center, using SLM Solutions equipment, has completed a project to upgrade a liquid-gas mixer. Initially, the device was assembled from 12 parts, including 3 large elements - the first and second flanged body connections and the mixer insert. Selective laser melting made it possible to create a single body, reducing the number of parts from 12 to one. There is no need to use several metals and flange connections: inside the all-metal case, threads are simply cut, so that the weight of the mixer is reduced from 1.3 kg to 50 g. Production time was halved. Finally, financial costs of production decreased by 73%.

    More practical examples of metal 3D printing

    Acoustic antenna

    splitter Left: two-part master form printed on a 3D printer. Right: removing the finished part from the silicone mold

    , Concern Okeanpribor OJSC (St. Petersburg) produces communication systems for the Russian Navy, including equipment with a large number of small elements, for example, a splitter - one of the main components of the new sonar antenna . For rapid prototyping in the manufacture of injection parts, the concern uses a professional 3D printer 3D SystemsProJet 660Pro powered by CJP technology. A mold is grown on a 3D printer, which is then filled with silicone. Any other material can be poured into the silicone mold, in this case polyurethane. As a result, the company receives a kind of form for the forms - not just a prototype, but a prototype, ready for use. Implementation of the project using standard methods would require several months, but thanks to the 3D printer, the antenna creation time was reduced to three weeks.

    Project in detail

    Components of gas turbine engines

    Wax model, grown by 3D printing, and the finished product

    American company Turbine Technologies, Ltd. developed a modification of internal combustion engines on which high pressure turbines are installed. The company has purchased the 3D Systems ProJet MJP 3600W 3D printer for 3D printing of wax models and receives the finished casting within 3-4 days. Wax models are now made directly from 3D CAD models, and the Turbine Technologies foundry manufactures gas turbine engine prototype components with greater accuracy and lower cost.

    More practical examples of using 3D-printing in the investment casting

    components and assemblies for aircraft

    3D-press on QuickCast photopolymer technology saves time and money, because it allows you to do without expensive tooling

    Компания Vaupell разрабатывает производственные решения для литейных предприятий, которые выполняют заказы аэрокосмической и оборонной отрасли. Благодаря стереолитографическому 3D-принтеру 3D Systems ProX 800 компания смогла радикально повысить эффективность производства. В принтере предусмотрен специальный режим печати фотополимером – QuickCast, при котором воспроизводится тонкостенная внешняя оболочка детали, а пустоты внутри детали заполняются ячеистой структурой. QuickCast-модели заменяют традиционные литейные модели и не требуют дорогостоящей оснастки. Таким образом, компания снизила затраты на литейные модели на 95%.

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    Контроль геометрии корпуса насоса

    Карта отклонений геометрии футеровки

    IQB Technologies completed a project that included a 3D scan of the pump housing after machining and a separate 3D scan of the housing with lining to control coating thickness. At the first stage, the product was digitized with a Creaform HandySCAN 700 hand-held 3D scanner, and then a high-poly 3D model of the pump casing was obtained. Then the experts performed a control of geometry deviations in the Geomagic Control X software . Identified deviations in the surface of the coating create additional pressure on the housing, therefore, reduce its life. The project was completed in just 4 hours.

    More practical examples of quality control with a 3D scanner

    Reverse engineering a turbine impeller

    3D scanning a turbine wheel for later reverse engineering

    Dependable Industries (a manufacturer of foundry models and tools from Vancouver) contacted entrepreneur Matthew Percival of 3D Rev Eng to assist in the reverse engineering of impeller casting of a radial-axis hydraulic turbine. The Geomagic Design X reverse engineering program allows you to create models with complex shapes within a few hours that would take several weeks to make using traditional technologies. Thanks to Geomagic Design X, reverse engineering time was reduced by 50% and manufacturing costs were reduced by 48%.

    Project in detail


    3D technology has some limitations. This is the high cost of equipment and materials, and insufficient knowledge, and the lack of specialists, and difficulties with integration into traditional technological chains. Additive methods today cannot supplant or replace classical technologies, but they prove the economic benefits of prototyping and small-scale production and become the only possible solution in the manufacture of complex small parts. Ultimately, the use of three-dimensional printing, scanning and modeling technologies makes it possible to bring new products to the market faster and, therefore, increases the competitiveness of engineering enterprises.

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