Energy industry platform developer Immensa is dedicated to using the latest technologies to transform the world’s oil and gas spare parts supply chain. One of these technologies is a new manufacturing process you may have heard of called 3D printing.
The industrial production term for 3D printing is additive manufacturing (AM), also known as additive layer manufacturing (ALM), which is a computer-controlled process that builds three-dimensional objects by depositing materials, typically in layers.
How Immensa Uses Additive Manufacturing (AM)
Immensa is an international solution provider taking physical spare parts and brings them into the on-demand, digital world by relying on new technologies, including additive manufacturing.
Immensa is modernizing the supply chain for spare parts by enabling an economically sound, efficient, and sustainable transition to digital warehousing via the effective use of AM technology.
How AM Works
AM enables the production of items with precise geometric shapes by employing computer-aided design (CAD) and 3D object scanners. Produced items are constructed layer by layer, as they are in a 3D printing process. This is in contrast to processes of traditional manufacturing, which frequently call for machining or other methods to remove excess raw material.
The Different Types of AM
Immensa uses several unique types of AM procedures, each with its standards, including:
- Binder Jetting
This AM method employs a formative head similar to that used in 3D printing. The head moves along spatial x, y, and z axes and deposits alternating layers of powdered material, using a liquid binder as an adhesive.
- Directed Energy Deposition
Direct energy deposition (DED) AM uses metals, ceramics, and polymers. A work bed moves vertically while a horizontal laser, electric arc, or electron beam gun positioned on an arm melts the wire, filament feedstock, or powder to build up material for the manufactured item.
- Directed Energy Deposition Arc (Formerly Wire Arc AM)
In directed energy deposition arc (DED-Arc) AM, 3D shapes are created using deposition from arc welding power sources and manipulators. Typically, wire is used to form required shapes along a predefined path. Robotic welding equipment is generally utilized for this process.
- Material Extrusion
This AM technique uses a heated nozzle on a moving arm to extrude or draw through spooled polymers. The melted material is built up layer by layer by moving the nozzle horizontally and the work bed vertically. Chemical bonding agents or temperature controls are used to hold the layers together.
- Powder Bed Fusion
The term “powder bed fusion” refers to a range of AM processes, including direct metal laser melting (DMLM), selective laser sintering (SLS), direct metal laser sintering (DMLS), selective heat sintering (SHS), and electron beam melting (EBM). In these processes, fine layers of material are melted or partially melted using electron beams, lasers, or thermal print heads. Any extra powder is then blasted away.
- Sheet Lamination
Ultrasonic additive manufacturing (UAM) and laminated object manufacturing (LOM) are two subfields of sheet lamination. The manufacturing of laminated objects, which employs alternating layers of paper and adhesive, is well suited to producing objects with a pleasing aesthetic. UAM is a low-temperature, low-energy method of joining thin metal sheets using ultrasonic welding. It can be used with various metals, including titanium, aluminum, and stainless steel.
- Vat Polymerization
In this AM procedure, an object is built up layer by layer using a vat of liquid resin photopolymer. Mirrors are utilized to focus ultraviolet light, which cures the successive resin layers through photopolymerization.
The Different AM Technologies
There are three basic types of AM technologies:
The first is sintering, which heats a material without liquifying it to produce intricate, high-resolution shapes. While selective laser sintering uses a laser to make the particles of thermoplastic powders stick together, direct metal laser sintering uses metal powders.
The second AM technology completely melts the ingredient materials. This is done either by electron beam melting or direct laser metal sintering, each of which employs lasers to melt layers of metal powder fully.
The third category of AM technology is stereolithography, which utilizes a method called photopolymerization, wherein an ultraviolet laser is blasted into a vat of photopolymer resin to produce ceramic pieces that are torque-resistant and able to withstand high temperatures.