Development of a new metal 3D printing technology
The Prodways R&D teams have been collaborating with CEA-LITEN for two years. This collaboration with this institute of CEA – CEA Tech - is working on a new metal 3D printing process using metal powder combined with organic binders. This project has just seen its first successful production of titanium parts using this new exclusive process:
If it were to be ramped up to series production scale, this new technology would offer substantial advantages compared to the highest performance methods currently in use:
- Offers a printing process that is up to five times faster than direct metal 3D printing;
- Has the ability to work with all types of metals (including titanium, Inconel, cobalt-chrome, etc.);
- Resolves problems related to health, safety and the environment (with a process that does not produce fine particles, using very fine powders);
- Reduces overall operation time and production costs;
- Requires less energy, as the energy normally used to fuse metal is provided by an oven and not a laser;
- Provides a very high degree of precision that is not possible with current metal 3D printing technology.
We are still facing numerous challenges in development, but this first successful production, result of a two year research study, is a major step forward.
Development of 3D printing technologies for fabrication of metal parts using an indirect process
Furthermore, Prodways obtained the first conclusive results in refining the process by using MOVINGLight® technology for indirect fabrication of metal parts. These technologies, such as the lost wax casting process, can make tools, master patterns, or unique moulds that make it possible to fabricate high performance metal parts. In particular, this technology can create master pattern geometries that are more complex. Prodways is also developing new resins that can optimise this technology for casting metal parts. This indirect process, which is often used in the aeronautic and automotive industries, is currently being tested at several leading companies in these sectors.
Expertise in parts fabrication and strengthening the offer in metal
Lastly, the group notes that with a fleet of approximately 10 machines dedicated to metal, and more than 10 years of experience in the sector, Initial is one of the largest French players in metal 3D printing parts production (titanium, Inconel, etc.). The Prodways subsidiary also has reinforced its offer by acquiring a new metal fusing machine so that it can optimally meet the requirements of the aeronautics and medical sectors.
Changes are sweeping the metal 3D printing technology industry, with General Electric's $1.4 billion buyout of the two biggest players in the sector. The Prodways group, a subsidiary of Groupe Gorgé, intends to strengthen its efforts in metal additive manufacturing to enrich its offer.
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About Groupe Gorgé
Established in 1990, Group Gorgé is an industrial group operating in different areas of expertise:
Smart Safety Systems – Using technology to work in risk environments;
Protection in Nuclear Environments – Protecting people and securing buildings operating with radioactive materials;
Industrial Projects & Services Conducting Robotics and Fire protection systems projects for industry and service-sector player;
3D Printing – Enabling major industry players to find new routes to successful innovation and production processes by providing systems, 3D printers and new premium material.
In 2015, the Group reported revenue of €264.5 million. It is backed by 1,536 employees and operations in over ten countries.
More information available on www.groupe-gorge.com
Groupe Gorgé is listed on Euronext Paris and on the US OTC market in the form of ADR.
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