West Australian engineering firm iKAD Engineering (iKAD) is betting on 3D printing technology for large-scale pipe manufacturing by acquiring a highly specialized robotic, dual wire feed Arcemy module from Australian metal AM startup AML3D. The multi-dimensional additive manufacturing (AM) solution and its underlying Wire Arc Manufacturing (WAM) technology is slated to offer iKAD flexible configuration. The technology will be useful to the company for developing large pipe structures of multiple length and diameter dimensions at higher deposition speeds and less downtime than traditional manufacturing practices. Pipes will feature elbows and flanges that will vary between four and 12 meters in length, featuring diameters between 500 and 4,000 mm in size.
On December 24, 2020, AML3D announced that it had received AU$300,000 for the initial phase of the highly specialized tailored unit, which includes equipment and engineering design. After completing phase one, AML3D anticipates that it will issue a second purchase order for construction, programming, and commissioning for a similar amount. Overall, the final buyout could get up to more than AU$500,000. However, this will be agreed upon once the first phase specifications are determined.
Specializing in mechanical and structural engineering, iKAD provides project management and engineering solutions to Australia’s primary sectors, including defense, industrial, mining, marine, oil and gas, and water technology industries. As the newest addition to its expanding manufacturing capabilities, this new robotic AM platform could offer iKAD a clear advantage to design and fabricate versatile systems. Furthermore, the module’s integration represents an opportunity to strengthen the sovereign capability of the Australian Defence Force, which plays a critical role in the defense and security of the nation.
“We are excited to work with AML3D by making a significant investment to enhance our manufacturing capabilities and grow our business through driving advances in Australia’s sovereign manufacturing capacity and technology,” commented iKAD Engineering’s Managing Director, Ivan Donjerkovich. “Australia has an enviable opportunity in being at the forefront of the biggest shifts in manufacturing since the early 1900s, and we intend to be a big part of this focus in the Additive Manufacturing space. Our initial focus with this unit will be on servicing key clients within the Oil and Gas sector with future potential also in Defense and other industries.”
This will be AML3D’s third sale of its fit-for-purpose customization of Arcemy modules for Australia’s manufacturing sector and an exciting milestone for the company. Founded in 2014, AML3D uses 3D printing to solve complex challenges with its patented WAM process and proprietary software, providing AM on-demand services in contract manufacturing centers. Arcemy combines metallurgical science and engineering design to automate the 3D printing processes. By relying on advanced robotics technology, Arcemy has become the world’s first production-ready metal 3D printing module that allows users to create products on-site from locally sourced materials. Its resiliency to overseas supply disruptions (like the ones experienced at the beginning of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic) makes it fundamental to critical sectors, like the ones IKAD serves.
The metal printing process works by first melting wire through plasma conveyed by an electric arc. Then, the WAM process forms beads layer by layer to refine the metal geometry and turn out high specification metal components, as described in Australia’s Mining Monthly. According to the company’s Managing Director and Founder, Andrew Sales, the key to Arcemy is its ability to promptly deliver an array of high-quality, large-scale, custom-built components to customers at competitive prices.
“We see the iKAD Engineering purchase as a strong vindication of our ability to supply and commission a highly specialized multi-dimensional robotic pipe welding solution,” described Sales. “The customization of the Arcemy® module cements its commercial viability, and most importantly, allows our customer to improve their manufacturing efficiencies through automation, 3D metal printing, and additive joining.“
The potential for AML3D’s WAM process to disrupt the flexible manufacturing space is vast. Compared to other conventional manufacturing techniques, AML3D believes it could offer the same product strength with less material used. This latest opportunity to further support local companies in their transition towards additive technologies adds to the company’s growing list of accomplishments this year. The wire arc AM service provider began 2020 with a highly anticipated IPO in March, followed by two Arcemy units sold, million-dollar investment fundings, new facilities, and collaborations for innovative product developments. With so much going on, AML3D’s technology could become the push that Australia’s manufacturing sector needs.
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