Latest Sierra Turbines News
Aug 10, 2021
After installing their first Sapphire 3D printer just last June , Cincinnati-based Vertex Manufacturing will welcome another VELO3D machine coming in September. This new Sapphire 3D printer will be dedicated to running Hastelloy materials and should be qualified for production parts by the end of September. Vertex took delivery of its first full-stack VELO3D Sapphire solution last June and set it up to print metal parts in Inconel 718 (PDF), a nickel-based superalloy known for its superb tensile strength when subjected to extreme pressure and heat. The machines are installed alongside other advanced manufacturing systems such as a top-of-the-line Makino a61nx CNC machining center. Vertex said at the time that it planned to add additional VELO3D solutions based on feedback from existing customers who value the quality, efficiency and productivity benefits. The team that founded Vertex Manufacturing has built up AM experience starting in 1994, with Morris Technologies, Inc. The company and its sister company Rapid Quality Manufacturing were acquired by GE Aviation in 2012. That pioneering spirit is now fueling Vertex Manufacturing, leveraging decades of experience with thousands of applications across the aerospace, medical, defense, oil & gas and consumer goods industries. VELO3D systems, on the other hand, have been among the latest to enter the metal PBF market. However, as amply discussed and illustrated in 3dpbm ‘s latest report on the Metal AM Market Opportunities and Trends , their adoption has been extremely rapid, the most rapid among any recent entries in the metal AM hardware segment. So much so that the company is now on the verge of becoming public ( through a SPAC merger ). VELO3D’s unique proposition has been the ability to become the first metal PBF hardware manufacturer to actively market a solution that enabled engineers to realize designs with overhangs down to 0° (horizontal), and large inner diameters without supports (while most conventional metal PBF 3D printing systems often require supports for any geometry below 45°). For example, metal additive manufacturing (AM) of gas power turbines is becoming more common as it enables design freedom, light-weighting, and better performance. But some parts, like the Aurelius Mk1 by Sierra Turbines, would be impossible to manufacture using conventional constraints (Sierra Turbines can now produce the ideal geometry leading to increased time-between-overhaul of 40X and a power-to-weight ratio boost of 10X). Sapphire systems have so far been fully qualified to process Aluminum F357 Inconel IN718, HASTELLOY C22, HASTELLOY X and Ti 6Al-4V ELI.