Pressure vessels are enclosed containers that hold liquids, vapors, and gases at a pressure significantly higher or lower than the ambient pressure. Their size varies from whether they are use within a residential environment or in an industrial environment.

Andritz Savonlinna Works Oy, a supplier of equipment, machinery and services for the pulp and paper industry headquartered in Finland,  and the Finnish Additive Manufacturing  Ecosystem (FAME), 3D printed a large pressure vessel.

The project has been conducted for research purpose. The team claims that it is the largest 3D printed pressure vessel in Europe. The 300 kg vessel has a diameter of 900 mm and a height of 1600 mm. It is made up of stainless steel (316L) with Andritz Savonlinna Works Oy’s additive manufacturing system, whose operating principle is directed energy deposition, arc as an energy source (DED-Arc / WAAM).

“FAME has 3D printed many kinds of projects with its members, and this time we ended up building and testing a pressure vessel, because the combination of high-quality requirements of pressure equipment and a metal part additively manufactured in this size represent well those hidden possibilities that are not typically seen,” says Ecosystem Lead Markus Korpela from DIMECC Ltd. “It has been great to see how the significant research and development work of ANDRITZ Savonlinna Works Oy for their DED-Arc process and above all its results have also activated other companies to realize its possibilities and take actions towards larger scale metal additive manufacturing,” Korpela adds.

After manufacturing, a third party performed a non-destructive material test (NDT) on the pressure vessel with liquid penetrant testing, and later it will be subjected to a pressure test itself.

We will get information about the final properties of the pressure vessel and how it compares to the standards from the non- and destructive tests performed. Based on these, we can find out how to implement similar products for commercial production. Even though testing is still going on, this has already been truly amazing project to carry out and it has given valuable experience on 3D printing in this size range. Also, Elomatic Oy and LUT University deserve acknowledgements in this project, since we have been getting support in design and testing phase from them,” says Santeri Varis, Additive Manufacturing Manager from ANDRITZ Savonlinna Works Oy.

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