‘Disrupting’ the market with a hybrid production centre
ETMM: Did any specific customer demands help your decision to move into additive manufacturing?
Hyatt: Another area we thought would be compelling was based on many of the companies being frustrated by costs driven by the slow speed of deposition. The hybrid machine combines the advantages of milling like high accuracy and surface finish with the flexibility and high build up rate of laser powder deposition.
Lell: In the case of some components, e.g., aerospace applications where parts are machined from billet, today 95% of the material is removed by milling. With additive processes material is only built up where it is needed. As result, material loss is reduced to 5%. This leads to significant raw material and cost savings.
ETMM: What other advantages does your technology have?
Hyatt: Large machines suitable for machining parts needed in the aerospace or energy sectors tend to be very expensive; so having a single large machine which can do the rough machining, the deposition and finishing on one machine is very economical for customers. In the energy, oil and gas industries, components often need to be coated with a suitable corrosion-resistant alloy such as Inconell to protect any given area. The cladding process provides protection for products such as pipes, valves, flanges and specialist fabrications used in any hostile environment. With a hybrid machine, the machining of the base material, the cladding and the final machining process can be done in one setup, which provides the benefit of cost savings, as well as a reduction in lead time.