Cooperation as the key for success
The possibilities for this new manufacturing technology are enormous, but for its industrial application there are still numerous hurdles to be overcome: advancing developments in the Additive Manufacturing sector will only be possible through a close cooperation of companies, research institutions and universities.
The Pankl Additive Manufacturing Competence Center (PAMCC) constitutes so far the largest cooperation of technology enterprises in the fields of:
Together with globally known brands such as voestalpine Böhler Edelstahl, EOS and Quintus Technologies, Pankl Racing Systems has set up its competence centre with the goal of pushing the limits of AM further and to strengthen its position particularly in the automotive high-performance and aerospace fields.
The cooperation with voestalpine Böhler Edelstahl, a globally leading enterprise in the high-performance metal industry, makes it possible to embark on a joint, customised development process of innovative and optimised metal powders as ideal starting products for the printing process.
With EOS, we were able to gain the support of the pioneering provider of laser sintering machines. EOS not just brings many years of experience with regard to process technology, but also provides us with the latest generation of machines even before they are launched on the market.
crossing boundaries together
The right thermal after-treatment is the fundamental basis for the functionality of printed components. For this reason, we also installed an HIP-press (Hot Isostatic Press) by our partner and globally leading provider Quintus Technologies.
Our close cooperation with leading universities, in particular with the Leoben University of Mining and Metallurgy, aims at familiarising students with Additive Manufacturing, and focuses especially on showing them which new requirements and challenges it brings.
The entire process up to the finished product is handled by Pankl in-house and supervised by our team of AM specialists.
The process involves the development, selection and analysis of the most suitable powder. The design optimization of the component and the ideal positioning are followed by a key process for the later product.
After the successful printing process, various processes, such as surface treatment or heat treatment, improve the properties of the component.
Pankl develops together with its partners powder fractions for new and high-tech applications.
Perfect powder quality is the basis for perfect AM parts; powder atomization is the basic element in the production chain, only the newest technologies and equipment are used for our powders.
Powder samples are controlled throughout the whole production chain in order to permanently ensure the highest quality standards.
Powder development and quality inspections are carried out using state-of-the-art laboratory equipment.
Design development is done by various simulation tools for FEA/CFD calculations and for topology optimization through which new designs benefit from the fascinating possibilities of additive manufacturing.
Innovative simulation tools are in use for the preparation of new printing jobs in order to optimize the support structure and the printing process.
The printing starts as soon as the machine and the process requirements in the printing chamber are set; the timescale varies from a few hours to a few days depending on component sizes. Once the printing is completed, powder residues are removed using a vacuum-cleaner and the printed part is taken out of the machine.
The quality controls for AM components and the monitoring of the printing process are realized by the use of 3D scans, tensile specimen, density cubes and thermic cameras.
Depending on the component requirements manual finishing like polishing or automated finishing like CNC turning or milling may be applied.
After the printing job is completed, components are heat treated to achieve conformity with specified material characteristics.
HOT ISOSTATIC PRESSING (HIP)
Components under high-load and with strict safety criteria profit from the possibilities of Hot Isostatic Pressing that brings a significant optimization in terms of fatigue strength through the application of high pressure and high temperatures. Pankl as one of the leading supplier for AM components is equipped with an own in-house HIP-system to help decrease delivery times for critical components significantly.
In addition to the internal investigation opportunities at Pankl Racing Systems, the cooperation with voestalpine Böhler Edelstahl – a globally leading enterprise in tool steels, high-speed steels and special materials – makes it possible to access the latest atomisation- and lab facilities, as well as to embark on a joint, customised development process for innovative and optimised metal powders as ideal starting products for the printing process.read more read less
As the correct thermal after-treatment is the fundamental basis for the functionality of AM components, we decided to invest in a new vacuum heat-treatment system as well as a dedicated HIP (Hot Isostatic Press), which consolidates components using high pressure and temperature, thereby increasing their lifespan significantly. In this context, we were lucky to get Quintus Technologies on board, a technology leader in high-pressure technology and a valuable strategic third partner for our competence centre. The first HIP machine worldwide that has been specially adapted for AM applications was installed by Quintus Technologies in the Pankl Additive Manufacturing Competence Center.read more read less