Additive Industries Series production of AM metal parts

Editor: Barbara Schulz

Netherlands/Germany – GKN Sinter Metals has announced it has begun series production of additively manufactured precision automotive parts at its plant in Radevormwald, Germany.

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Simon Hoeges, GKN AM director, in front of the Metal-FAB1, an industrial-grade additive manufacturing machine.
Simon Hoeges, GKN AM director, in front of the Metal-FAB1, an industrial-grade additive manufacturing machine.
(Source: GKN Sinter Metals)

The company is using its Metal-FAB1 system from Netherland-based Additive Industries to produce complex engine and transmission components for the original equipment and replacement parts markets.

GKN Sinter Metals is the world’s largest producer of precision powder metal products, offering extensive technical expertise in design, testing and various process technologies. GKN Sinter Metals offers a full range of complex shapes and high-strength products for automotive, industrial and consumer markets worldwide. With the Metal-FAB1 system, GKN Sinter Metals stated that it is in a position to offer its customers around the world a range of complex and creative product solutions in next to no time.

The Metal-FAB1 can simultaneously print hundreds of parts on a single build plate. “Depending on how many data sets we feed into the Metal-FAB1, these can be 300 identical or 300 different parts. This gives us unprecedented production capacity and flexibility,” says Dr Simon Hoeges, GKN AM director.

The industrial-grade additive manufacturing machine and integrated Additive World software platform will deliver up to a tenfold reproducibility, productivity and flexibility, Additive Industries says. The improved performance is said to be achieved by robust and thermally optimised equipment design, smart feedback control and calibration strategies.

In addition to the AM build process, the Metal-FAB1 also incorporates stress relief heat treatment and automated handling. The system uses powder bed fusion with multiple lasers. The modular design of the Metal-FAB1 system allows for customer- and application-specific process configuration, the company explains. It adds that multiple build chambers with individual integrated powder handling make this industrial 3D printer the first to combine up to four materials simultaneously in one single machine.

The system can be equipped with a maximum of four full field lasers, thereby eliminating the need for stitching when printing large objects, Additive Industries says. In a joint development program the technology is further optimised for the needs of the automotive industry, Additive Industries explains.

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