We know that metal 3D printing is one of the oldest additive manufacturing forms, but it’s also one of the fastest growing in the industry. It’s been used to manufacture many things, from injection molds, next-generation spacecraft components and military jet parts, to titanium propulsion tanks and turbine blades. Germany-based MAN Diesel & Turbo SE, which is a top provider of turbomachinery and large-bore diesel engines for both marine and stationary applications, designing and manufacturing two-stroke and four-stroke engines, recently added additive manufacturing to its processes.
The company, which has over 100 international sites but is headquartered in Augsburg, also designs and manufactures steam turbines and gas turbines, and recently announced that it is equipping gas turbines with standardized, 3D printed components.
3D printing is now a company standard, and it has added additive manufacturing into its serial production process with its first use of these standardized components.
“As of now, we are the first manufacturer in the world to use complex 3D-printed metallic components not only for test runs but also for serial production,” said MAN Diesel & Turbo CEO Dr. Uwe Lauber. “After a decade of research and development we are proud that we have been able to make this significant step forward. The future technology of 3D printing allows us to offer our customers even better products.”
“The standardized use of additive manufacturing is a strategic milestone for MAN Diesel & Turbo,” Lauber explained. “3D printing gives us clear competitive advantages in terms of our products supporting the decarbonization of industry and power generation. The techniques considerably reduce the path from an innovative design to a finished product. The digital data from our R&D departments can be converted into better products more quickly than before, while customers are supported throughout the entire product lifecycle with 3D-printing-based services.”
The company is committed to increasing the use of 3D printing for its gas turbine components, and has invested a lot of money in first building up, and then later expanding, its in-house 3D printing expertise.
“We are currently investing some EUR 2.6 million in order to utilise the numerous benefits of additive manufacturing along the whole value chain,” said Dr. Roland Herzog, Head of Material Technology in the Strategic Business Unit Turbomachinery, MAN Diesel & Turbo. “As well as shortened development cycles, 3D printing gives more freedom for innovative, superior component designs, reduces production and delivery times and enables us service-wise to produce spare parts on call.”
MAN Diesel & Turbo will be investing in the “MAN Center for Additive Manufacturing,” or MANCAM, in order to further exploit the potential of 3D printing technology. MANCAM, based at the company’s Oberhausen turbomachinery works, is a production and location-independent expert. Materials experts, production engineers, and design specialists all work together at MANCAM to work on extending the additive manufacturing benefits to produce better products and components, like engine fuel nozzles and compressor impellers.
“Additive manufacturing offers huge potential for our product range, especially when it comes to the production of gas turbine components,” said Dr. Herzog. “Additively manufactured guide vane segments that we are now incorporating into our type MGT6100 gas turbines have proven particularly suitable. The approval for serial production is the result of intense cooperation with highly specialized suppliers and development partners such as the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology.”
Additive manufacturing has many benefits, across the entire product value chain, over conventional manufacturing processes, like production and development, cost-saving efforts and customization, all the way to maintenance and service. Discuss in the MAN Diesel forum at 3DPB.com.