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Advanced Manufacturing

Additive Manufacturing

In 2015, Sirris helped a growing number of businesses to assess the feasibility of additive manufacturing and to make the right technological choices. It also began working with new partners who will take over small-batch production.

Safran Aero Boosters and Sirris rethink turbojet engine blade production

Liège-based OEM Safran Aero Boosters wanted to assess whether it could produce its turbojet engine blades using additive manufacturing. At present, these metal parts – vital for aircraft propulsion – are made by conventional machining, with high levels of material waste. In 2014 and 2015, Sirris helped Safran Aero Boosters to assess the technology, by producing a series of parts at its own additive manufacturing facilities, and to select the most suitable equipment for the company’s needs.

Sonaca and Sirris test additive manufacturing for the aviation industry

Sirris is taking part in Sonaca's Fasama project, which is co-financed by the Walloon Region as part of the Marshall Plan 4.0. The aim is to assess whether additive manufacturing technologies can produce metal parts suitable for the aviation industry, with optimal mass and functionality. In late 2015, the partners selected the appropriate technology and produced a number of test parts, primarily for aircraft wing anti-icing systems.

Sirris and Evolar devise comfortable system for wearing smart glasses

‘Smartpick’ is an innovative order picking system developed by Ghent-based firm Evolar. Using smart glasses and Evolar’s software, order pickers can scan codes on goods simply by looking at them. They are then shown specific tasks in the corner of their vision so they know exactly what has to be done with each item. No more paper checklists and handheld scanners! Only one thing let it down: the hardware – i.e. the wearing system for attaching the smart glasses to the order picker – was ergonomically not as comfortable or effective as it could have been. Evolar therefore sought advice from Sirris in 2015.

From complex assembly process to integrated tooling for Borit

Since 2009, Borit, a company based in Geel with branches in Japan and the United States, has focused on the production and assembly of thin, steel plate components which are shaped by water pressure using the firm’s patented ‘Hydrogate’ technology (hydroforming), before being cut and welded. These bipolar plates are primarily used in the manufacture of fuel cells. In 2015, Borit designed an innovative production tool in collaboration with Sirris to optimise the fuel cell assembly process.

Simplified compressor component for Atlas Copco, with 3D assistance from Sirris

Atlas Copco is a leading supplier of industrial productivity solutions, and its Wilrijk site is world renowned for its air and gas compressors. The Specials Department tailors these products to the specific requirements of a range of sectors. For example, some compressors are used on offshore drilling platforms and in maritime environments in which corrosion-resistant materials are essential. Compressor components – such as the drain pot – which are traditionally made from less corrosion-resistant material require rustproof alternatives when used in such environments. Atlas Copco relied on Sirris to optimise the design of its drain pot in 2015.