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Additive manufacturing

AM on the shopfloor

Diversified polymers for 3D printing 

Sirris has a new polymer powder sintering machine which can be used for a wider range of materials.

 

Until now, most SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) printers used polyamide, but the industry for both prototypes and end products has diversified more and more and require materials that are closer to injected plastics.

 

Sirris has therefore purchased a new machine, the Prodways ProMaker P1000. This printer is more versatile when compared to the printers Sirris previously used. The new machine can process other materials such as PP (polypropylene) and PLA (polylactic acid) but also flexible plastics such as TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane). It can also manufacture products with specific hardness gradients for the same part (in TPU). The machine production volume is 300 x 300 x 300 mm and it is equipped with a 30 W CO2 laser with a 450 µm bundle diameter.

 

Sirris can now propose new additive manufacturing options to companies.

Sirris additive manufacturing expertise extensively available at RapidPro 

Sirris was visibly present at RapidPro which took place from 7 to 9 March in Veldhoven, the Netherlands. Sirris had a stand, took part in the presentations and a panel discussion and submitted two entries to the Hall of Fame. Sirris hosted a workshop for beginners and participated in the panel discussion on ‘Interactive Forum Certification and Standards in Additive Manufacturing’ as well as presenting on ‘Topological optimisation as inspirational design tool’ which provided insight into the infinite potential and the limitations of the technology. Sirris also hosted a session with Berenschot Consultancy on the business side of AM. The Hall of Fame included two Sirris entries: the ‘gooseneck bracket’, the result of the collaboration between ASCO Industries, Sirris and SLM Solutions, and a production tool to manufacture composites which was developed in cooperation with Com&Sens. Visitors could meet our Sirris experts and learn about AM at our stand. The stand included four new designs. 

Sirris takes part in the soapbox race with their own ‘Da Vinci’ concept  

On 10 September, Sirris took part in the sixth edition of the Red Bull soapbox race in Kluisbergen, Belgium. The preparations for the race were preceded by many intense weeks. A team of Sirris employees created the unique ‘Da Vinci’ soapbox by combining various new technologies. Both the design and elaboration contain original ideas: the steering system is inspired by the steering principles of a skateboard, bamboo was used for the structure and we may have been the first to use additive manufacturing to build our race car. The team was able to demonstrate the opportunities provided by our new in-house technologies in a somewhat unexpected context. 

 

More than 700 teams registered for the 2017 edition of the Red Bull Soapbox Race. The jury selected 65 participating teams. More than 30,000 spectators watched how nearly all self-made race cars reached the finish line, although not all arrived in one piece. The Sirris Da Vinci maiden race went well. Our soapbox drew quite some attention and even Belgian rally driver Thierry Neuville was interested in it.

 

A social media campaign was set up to support Sirris’s role in the race.

It was an exciting day for the Sirris team. Would you like to see what they got up to? Please go to: https://www.sirris.be/blog/sirris-surprises-original-design-and-use-materials-soapbox-race

 

Integrating AM at the production level

Sirris proves that additive manufacturing (AM) is ready for the production floor with its AM Integrated Factory. On 14 November, the official launch took place in the machinery building in Diepenbeek, Belgium. The pilot line that combines several technologies and represents an investment of 2.5 million euros is a first for Belgium and probably many other countries in the world. 

 

The AM Integrated Factory was developed within the context of the ‘Integration of 3D metal printing’ European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) project. While initially only polymers were printed, current technology allows the printing of complex components using metal, an evolution that is currently gaining momentum.

 

The pilot set-up combines different state-of-the-art technologies and is bringing the factory of the future to the work floor: LBM (Laser Beam Machining), high-precision five-axis milling, laser curing, surface functionalisation and operator support by a cobot.

 

The AM Integrated Factory is a pilot factory for demonstrations and research on an industrial level. The production line shows that different breakthrough technologies can now be integrated on a single production line, which means a faster and more accurate production process and, moreover, ensures 'first time right' can be achieved for complex parts providing added value.

FASTOPT - Additive Manufacturing for light optical systems 

The FASTOP project is aimed at developing and/or adapting metal and ceramic production processes to obtain the freedom of shape, finishing level, dimensional stability and mechanical strength appropriate for the production of innovative optical components resulting in compact, stable, free form and highly precise components. The intended market is mainly the observation satellite optics market. The market growth is significant and the competition demands optimisation and ground-breaking technology in the area of form and architecture, conceptual methods, materials, measuring and control procedures and processes.

 

The first project objective is the development of design, procedures and material approaches for additive manufacturing using metal and ceramics, the surface treatment and optics quality measurement instruments. The second project objective is the validation and assessment of the performance of the new developed products on a selection of industrial demonstrators and applications.

 

The Marshall-Skywin project started in December 2017 and will run for a period of three years. Any-Shape is the coordinator. The industrial partners are AMOS, Lambda-X and Lasea and research units BCRC, the Liège Space Center (at University of Liège) and Sirris.