Photo: Jürgen Jeibmann / Fraunhofer IWS Dresden

Premiere in May: CHIRON Group presents first 3D metal printer

Adding material instead of removing it: Additive manufacturing processes are increasingly finding their way into industrial manufacturing. The CHIRON Group's focus is on the technology of laser deposition welding. This is the basis for the AM Cube 3D printer for producing large, complex components. The AM Cube will be presented for the first time at the OPEN HOUSE ONLINE in May.

AM for additive manufacturing, Cube for the shape: This is how the first 3D printer from the CHIRON Group got its name. According to the objective of the development, the AM Cube should be very versatile: It can be used to produce semi-finished products, repair components or apply coatings. It should also be "easy to use" and be used predominantly in mechanical engineering, tool manufacturing, energy production and aerospace.

This is exactly where the particular challenge for the CHIRON Group's Additive Manufacturing team lay. They had to design a practical solution for the industrial use of laser deposition welding, which would meet the customers' high requirements. But there is currently no magic formula for either the best possible process or the ideal materials – such as the quality of the powder or the properties of the welding wires. A further focus was the safety-technical equipment of the system. The required expertise to develop a convincing solution from the still young technology, was and is being significantly built up and further developed by the CHIRON Group.

Modular platform

To ensure that customers can use the AM Cube in a variety of ways, the team working for Axel Boi, Head of Additive Manufacturing, developed a platform: A five-axis system for the construction, coating and repair of cubic components and a four-axis system for shaft processing. All core components are fitted to the base with a modular design and are housed in a laser-proof and gas-tight cab. Peripherals such as the laser source, wire feeder, cooling system and control cabinet are positioned outside. The modular design allows for adaptation to specific customer requirements and also further variants in future too, such as with automation solutions.

AM Cube put to the test

With the Swiss company Stellba AG, the CHIRON Group was able to win a pilot customer that couldn't be more suitable: Stellba repairs and coats components of water, steam and gas turbines and has a lot of experience in the fields of coating, additive metal processing and laser welding, so it's the perfect customer to put the AM Cube through its paces under real production conditions.

… and at the OPEN HOUSE ONLINE

Who would like to know more: Axel Boi is gladly available for a consultation. On request also in direct user dialogue with Fouad Cheaitani, Customer Support and Business Development at Stellba. Axel Boi also presents the AM Cube outside the OPEN HOUSE ONLINE on site in Tuttlingen. As soon as circumstances permit, we look forward to a personal meeting. Please contact us to arrange an appointment.

Axel Boi, Head of Additive Manufacturing
Tel. +49 7461 940-3871

Axel Boi (left) and Fouad Cheaitani (right) from Stellba are looking forward to the professional dialogue with you.

Repair of a turbine blade using laser deposition welding

Technology at a glance

Wire-based laser metal deposition

With this technology, the laser steel melts wire and the base material, the melt joins together and hardens. This enables complex geometries to be created, as the workpiece is built up layer by layer. The laser is flexible and suitable both for fine surfaces and large build-up rates. The material feed in the AM Cube is performed via a coaxial process control with wire, which can function in all directions. In contrast to powder-based laser metal deposition, the material supply is clean and ensures that all of the material reaches the melting area. To prevent oxidation, the deposition process is performed in a closed system with protective gas.