Cardiff University invests in Renishaw additive manufacturing machine
Cardiff University has invested in a Renishaw AM250 machine, adding laser melting to the University's already extensive additive manufacturing research and development technologies.
In a move which continues the Welsh university's long history of R&D in 3D printing, the addition of the Renishaw AM250 sees the Additive Laboratories at its School of Engineering adopt a more holistic approach to manufacturing.
Renishaw's additive manufacturing (metal 3D printing) technology is a digitally driven process that uses a high powered ytterbium fibre laser to fuse fine metallic powders in to 3D objects, direct from 3D CAD data. The metallic powder is distributed evenly across the build plate in layer thicknesses ranging from 20 to 100 microns forming the 2D cross section. The layer of powder is then fused using the laser in a tightly controlled atmosphere. The process is repeated, building up parts of complex geometries, layer by layer.
The AM250 machine, which is manufactured at Renishaw's facility to the west of Cardiff, allows the construction of fully dense, highly complex metal parts and structures that are not possible to build using traditional subtractive manufacturing techniques. Applications for the machine range are vast and range from producing quality prototypes and one-off high value parts, to creating bio-compatible orthopaedic implants.
Commenting on the collaboration between Renishaw and Cardiff University, Rossi Setchi, the professor responsible for high value manufacturing, said she was “very excited” at the prospect.
She said, “Since the mid-1990s the Additive Manufacturing Laboratories at Cardiff School of Engineering have had a fantastic track record of additive manufacturing R&D in metal sintering, in resins, and in polymers.
She continued, “Our Additive Manufacturing Labs incorporate a wide range of 3D printing technologies and the ability to produce macro and micro components - we're very excited to be able to add laser melting to this mix for the first time with the purchase of this Renishaw AM250 machine.
This equipment combined with our pioneering expertise will advance R&D in the additive manufacturing field as well as enabling research and development in a very wide range fields from advanced manufacturing through healthcare to energy.”
Professor Setchi concludes, “Cardiff's collaboration with a world-leading metrology company Renishaw, and new metrology facilities at Cardiff School of Engineering, allows our AM Labs immediate access to state-of-the-art measurement equipment in order to verify the dimensional accuracy of R&D and production laser melted components”
Simon Scott, Director and General Manager of Renishaw's Additive Manufacturing Products Division said, “Renishaw is delighted that Cardiff have chosen Renishaw additive manufacturing technology to accompany the already very extensive facilities.”
He continued, “As with many new and disruptive technologies it is the collaborative relationship that fosters and supports the breakthroughs that lead to wider adoption and we are looking forward to a strong partnership to support this goal.”
For further information on Renishaw's additive manufacturing machines, visit www.renishaw.com/additive
About Cardiff University
Cardiff University is recognised in independent government assessments as one of Britain's leading teaching and research universities and is a member of the Russell Group of the UK's most research intensive universities.
Among its academic staff are two Nobel Laureates, including the winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Medicine, University Chancellor Professor Sir Martin Evans. Founded by Royal Charter in 1883, today the University combines impressive modern facilities and a dynamic approach to teaching and research.
The University's breadth of expertise encompasses: the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; the College of Biomedical and Life Sciences; and the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering, along with a longstanding commitment to lifelong learning.
Cardiff's four flagship Research Institutes are offering radical new approaches to cancer stem cells, catalysis, neurosciences and mental health and sustainable places.
The GreenTeam initially opted for aluminium wheel carriers, but it soon became clear that only a combination of a force-optimised design with less material, and a light material with a very high tensile strength, such as titanium, could further reduce the weight of the wheel carrier. “Compared with previous aluminium wheel carriers, Renishaw was able to save a total of 1.5 kg in vehicle weight, enabling the lightest vehicle so far.” Renishaw GmbH (Germany)
Titanium alloy is a wise material choice when you need lightweight, high strength and corrosion resistant components, however titanium is notoriously difficult to machine and cast. The Green Team found it hard to find a sponsor able to manufacture the optimised wheel carrier design using conventional methods. With its metal powder-based additive manufacturing system, capable of producing complex component geometries, Renishaw became the new premium GreenTeam sponsor.
Support structures are necessary for the majority of additive manufacturing builds. They anchor the build and dissipate heat, allowing overhanging parts of the structure to be built up layer-by-layer. The wheel carriers were additively built using Renishaw's AM250 additive manufacturing system using minimal supports, which are easily removed post build.
The need for support structures may seem wasteful, however in traditional subtractive machining the ratio of material needed to produce a finished part such as this can be as high as 19:1. With additive manufacturing that ratio is closer to 1:1, in this case 1.12:1.
Renishaw provides a design review service to anyone considering Renishaw's laser melting systems as a production solution. Your component or assembly will be reviewed by Renishaw's applications engineers who can make recommendations on DfM (Design for Manufacture), digitally process the model, and build a sample component using one of its on-site AM250 systems. A pre-build report, inspection report, and component price estimate can also be provided on request.
About Empire Cycles
Empire Cycles is a unique British bike designing and manufacturing company in the North-West of England. Passionate about using great British engineering to create elite products, the Company offers innovative designs to the world's mountain bikers and downhillers.
By working together, Renishaw and Empire Cycles optimised the bicycle design for additive manufacture, eliminating many of the downward facing surfaces that would otherwise have needed wasteful support structures.