Nexteam Group & Prodways Group develop RAF technology for 3D printed titanium parts
As part of the APS Meetings convention that will take place on March 20th and 21st in Lyon, Nexteam Group and Prodways Group will announce the implementation of the first industrial machine based on Rapid Additive Forging technology (RAF) for large titanium parts. The installation will be done at the Nexteam Group’s facility in Toulouse.
Installation of the first industrial machine at Nexteam Group
Two years of R&D work have enabled to both companies to develop RAF technology.
Nexteam Group, specialized in the manufacturing of hard metal aeronautic parts and sub-assemblies, will be the first sub-contractor to possess this technology.
Nexteam Group will be able to rapidly produce titanium parts for customers with very similar geometry compared with the final part. Thus the process will not be expensive, since finish-machining is all that will be needed to obtain the final part.
According to Frédéric Gentilin, Vice-President of Nexteam Group: “This project is strategic, a real competitive edge for the Group. We are the first in France to get equipped with this technology. In real terms, we will be cutting our production cycles and extending our product range. The goals of economic gain and logistics performance that are key requirements of our industrial sector in no way diminish our focus on the high-quality standards with which our Group is associated.”
Bruno Pierrel, Nexteam Group’s R&D Director also explained that the company will be saving on materials with this new machine. Thanks to the process, they will be saving on materials with this new machine, whereas with standard techniques, they would cut out up to 95% of the material.
Rapid Additive Forging (RAF)
The technology implements a head depositing molten metal in an atmosphere of inert gas. Metal is thus deposited layer by layer and a large part is completed within the space of just a few hours. Metallurgic analyses conducted over the past 12 months have demonstrated complete mastery of the process with an absence of porosity, homogeneity of the part in all directions, and productivity that is significantly higher than usual 3D metal printing techniques using powder sintering with a laser or electron beams.
The device can produce parts within a production bracket of 1200 x 800 x 500mm. It is intended for mass-produced parts, especially for aeronautics. A great number of aircraft and engine manufacturers have already ordered parts and approved the relevance of this technology.
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