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Atlas Copco Airpower acquires expertise and know-how in additive manufacturing

To successfully apply additive manufacturing (AM) it is critically important to have in-house knowledge of the various technologies involved. Atlas Copco Airpower, a manufacturer of compressors, generators and other industrial equipement, is one of the pioneers in using AM to manufacture their products. In its view, the possibilities - and therefore its expertise - will only continue to expand.

That is why in 2014 a project was launched bringing together experts from various divisions to learn as much as possible from each other and explore every facet of the issue. Atlas Copco also joined forces with Sirris and a number of other companies on a project to explore the possibilities of 3D printing. It reviewed the entire list of parts and considered which parts would be suitable for 3D printing.

In addition, a masterclass was organised in cooperation with Sirris at which designers from each division worked together intensively on 3D printing.  Simon Vermeir, a designer on the AM team at Sirris, explains more about this practical masterclass: "During the masterclass the experts from Sirris explained the various techniques. We provided practical design rules and tools and, together with the designers from Atlas Copco, we reviewed the entire design process. At each stage we looked at which knowledge was needed in order to successfully implement AM." The attendees brought in their own cases, components which were redesigned during the masterclass for production with AM.

3D printing can already deliver added value in various areas, such as prototypes, tooling, one-off parts and compressor components.