Siemens Energy Uses Continuous Composites’ 3D Printing for Energy Generator Parts

RAPID

Share this Article

Among the startups aiming to disrupt 3D printing and composites manufacturing is Continuous Composites, based out of Idaho. The company’s Continuous Fiber 3D Printing (CF3D) technology offers a number of benefits, not the least of which is the ability to 3D print and orient continuous fiber reinforcement materials along optimal pathways. Continuous Composites demonstrated the possibilities of this technique through the production of generator parts for Siemens Energy (FRA: ENR).

Working for multiple years alongside the tech giant, as well as, material company Arkema (OTCMKTS: ARKAY), Continuous Composites was able to develop a Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP). With a glass transition temperature (Tg) of 227°C, the high temperature thermoset polymer is capable of producing large, complex parts impossible with conventional composite fabrication methods. The material demonstrated Fiber Volume Fractions (FVF) of over 50% with a void content of less than 1.5%.

The CF3D process 3D printing GFRP. Image courtesy of Continuous Composites.

The partners leveraged the material and CF3D process to 3D print several generator parts that typically would be made using metal casting, a process that can be expensive and require substantial lead times. The GFRP, however, demonstrated the temperature requirements for Siemens Energy generators and other applications. According to the companies, 3D printing GFRP parts with the CF3D process could result in five times fewer manufacturing costs, as well as a reduction of lead times from eight to 10 months down to three weeks. The partners project $1 million in energy savings resulting from long-term downtime from energy equipment.

“The superior mechanical performance of CF3D®, combined with the significant cost and lead time reduction, led to our selection of Continuous Composites,” said Dr. Joel Alfano, Principal Technology Development Engineer at Siemens Energy. “The opportunity to replace a metallic generator component with composite materials leveraging AM is a powerful breakthrough for solving the constraints we face in the Energy industry, and CF3D® technology is making it possible.”

Most power generators convert the mechanical force of a rotating machine into electric power, with the motion between a magnetic field and a conductor creating electrical current. Though the majority of power stations use fossil fuels to drive the rotating mechanism, other energy sources, such as nuclear power and renewables are increasingly deployed to drive such generators as those in the Siemens-Continuous Composites project.

An energy generator from Siemens Energy. Image courtesy of Siemens Energy.

The extent to which Siemens will actually use the technology to produce metal replacement parts for energy production is unclear. So far, this seems to be a demonstrator case, with no public announcement related to actually deploying CF3D to 3D print generator components. But, because there is little public information about how CF3D is being used by customers, this seems to be a first glimpse into the applications of the technology.

It’s interesting how large-scale power generator parts might compare to 3D printed bike frames, the demonstrator developed by Continuous Composites competitor Arevo. Given In-Q-Tel’s interest in Arevo, we know that they’re not only 3D printing bike frames. Perhaps both are secretly 3D printing large, metal replacement parts for the energy sector or the military. After all, Continuous Composites has 3D printed demonstrator items for the U.S. Air Force and Lockheed Martin.

Share this Article


Recent News

InfinitForm Comes out of Stealth with AI Co-pilot for Manufacturing Design

US Army Contracts 3YOURMIND & Phillips Corp. for 3D Printed Tank Parts Identification



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D Printed Food

3D Printed Guns


You May Also Like

Featured

Printing Money Episode 18: The DC Fly-In with Mark Burnham, AddMfgCoalition

It’s only been a week since the previous show, but Printing Money is back already with Episode 18. Certain events call for Printing Money’s coverage, and the recent 2nd Annual...

Aerospace OEM Invests $9.1M in Michigan for Metal 3D Printing and More

Barron Industries, a foundry based in Michigan specializing in serving the aerospace and defense sectors, has made a $9.1 million capital investment to expand its operations in Oxford, Michigan. The...

Can Higher Power Density Engines Lead to Broader 3D Printing Use?

Traditionally, when it comes to sports cars, interest has centered around metrics such as horsepower per cubic inch and power-to-weight ratios. These metrics are calculated and interpreted differently by various...

Wisconsin’s Evology Adds Digital Sheet Forming to Service Roster

Evology, a service bureau based in Wisconsin and specializing in serving strategic sectors like aerospace and defense, has added digital sheet forming (DSF) to its repertoire of manufacturing capabilities. Evology...