Metso is a provider of equipment and services for sustainable processing and flow of natural resources in the mining, aggregates, recycling and process industries. One of the company’s goals is to become a leader in digital technologies, and it has taken another step toward that goal with the release of the first valves made with 3D printed parts. The 3D printed metal components in the valves allow them to perform in an especially demanding application that requires them to withstand numerous, fast open-close cycles without maintenance.
“We are at the forefront of using 3D printing in valve applications, having started testing the suitability of 3D printing technologies for metal components already years ago,” said Jukka Borgman, Director, Technology Development at Metso. “We have defined and prototyped several concepts where the 3D printed components can provide new levels of valve performance compared to components manufactured with traditional methods.”
Metso is also using 3D printing to manufacture tools used to make parts for minerals consumables. Earlier this year, the company announced the development of its “Digital Garage,” an initiative that focuses on identifying and pursuing new digital business development ideas and turning them into quickly implementable concepts and prototypes. Through the Digital Garage, Metso iterates and prototypes ideas in only weeks.
Metso was formed in 1999 through the merger of Valmet Corporation and Rauma Corporation. At that time, Rauma Corporation was known for its mining, aggregates, foundry, forest machinery and valve solutions, while Valmet Corporation focused on paper and board machines as well as car contract manufacturing. In the last decade, Metso’s business has expanded dramatically, opening up new service centers and technology centers across the Americas, Asia and the Middle East. The Finnish company serves customers around the world, and places great value on keeping up with the latest technology, including 3D printing and other Industry 4.0 technologies.
“The beauty of 3D printing is that it allows the customer to have devices whose new properties can only be implemented using the 3D printing method,” said Jani Puroranta, Metso’s Chief Digital Officer. “With certain products, a key benefit for the customer can be exceptionally quick delivery times.”
3D printed valves may not be as glamorous as, say, a 3D printed rocket engine or 3D printed human tissue, but components like this are vital to their industry, and Metso’s dedication to digital technology helps to keep it highly competitive. The valves were created using 3D printing not only to save time and money, but to enhance performance as well. It will be interesting to see if other companies in Metso’s field follow suit, if they aren’t doing so already. Metso’s 3D printed valves were created at the company’s Helsinki plant, and have officially been shipped to their first customer.
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