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Making 3D printing plug and play

28 October 2014

British engineering company Renishaw has obtained a compliance certificate from TÜV SÜD for its AM250 laser melting machine. The achievement is the latest in a long line of initiatives from Renishaw's Additive Manufacturing Products division. It is intended to help 3D printing evolve from being considered an emerging technology, reserved for design and testing, into a mainstream manufacturing tool.

Renishaw has obtained a compliance certificate from TÜV SÜD

The TÜV SÜD certification is an electrical safety standard valid in the United States and Canadian markets, often mandatory for many institutions. The certification attests that Renishaw's AM250 laser melting machine can be implemented in a manufacturing environment without the complications, cost and uncertainty of any additional testing or field inspections.

For core manufacturing industries like automotive, aerospace or electronics, TÜV SÜD certification is essential. It confirms the equipment is a ruggedized, fully-tested, fully-functional structure that can be used 24/7 in industrial environments.

The AM250 laser melting or metal 3D printing machine has been designed with the manufacturing industry in mind. It uses a high powered ytterbium fibre laser to fuse fine metallic powders together to form functional 3-dimensional parts.

The laser melting machine has a user friendly interface and a robust construction. The machine can produce an impressive variety of structures, from implantable medical devices, like hip replacements, to complex aerospace geometries. A diverse range of materials can be used for the products, including different grades of stainless steel, or aluminium, titanium and cobalt-chrome alloys. The AM250 helps manufacturers significantly reduce lead times and tooling costs.

“There are a huge number of myths surrounding 3D printing and additive manufacturing technologies,” explained Mark Kirby, business manager for additive products in Canada, who was involved in the project. “This is partly the result of mainstream media misrepresentation but also partially because of unfulfilled expectations. This kind of certification helps prove that we are able to clearly communicate the manufacturing benefits to our clients and then deliver on them.

“Achieving all the relevant certifications, like TÜV SÜD and CE mark, qualify the AM250 system for sale in worldwide markets. Clients who invest in a Renishaw laser melting system, can do so with the certainty that it has been independently assessed. When making a significant investment, the last thing our clients want is to dedicate extra cost or time meeting local regulations. With TÜV SÜD the safety and quality of the product is assured.”  

For further information on Renishaw's additive manufacturing machines, visit www.renishaw.com/additive

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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.