How Advanced Metal Additive Manufacturing (AM) is Redefining Core Parts—Part 2

by | Nov 10, 2021 | Business Drivers

In the first installment of this series, we discussed three core parts—heat exchangers, microturbines, and fuel tanks—and how innovative companies have leveraged Velo3D’s advanced metal AM system to improve design, manufacturing consistency, and reduce lead times per design iteration.

In part two we’ll discuss three more essential core parts and explore the unique challenges they pose to engineers, and how those challenges can be overcome through the innovative metal AM process pioneered by Velo3D.

Static Mixers

Static mixers present a unique opportunity for advanced metal AM. These industrial parts are static devices but rely on complex internal channels that can be used to mix liquids and gas as they pass through. When designing and manufacturing these internal channels, oftentimes conventional metal AM systems require exhaustive post-processing to remove supports needed to print internal features, and traditional manufacturing processes require multiple fabrication techniques which can take months to complete a part.

Part of the challenge with static mixers is in the design phase; internal geometries need to be optimized to enable liquid mixing, but without advanced modeling software much of the final part performance can be left to chance. Velo3D’s technical partner, Ansys, makes it possible to model the performance of static mixers, understanding the capability of the printing process and intended function of the mixer. By modeling the part performance, design can be optimized, which helps ensure that the finalized part aligns to the original, modeled intent. Through Velo3D’s advanced end-to-end metal AM solution, we’re able to achieve complex internal structures with low angles with minimal to no supports.

For more information on how Velo3D and Ansys are building better static mixers, watch our VeloVirtual on the topic below.

Turbopumps and Shrouded Impellers

Impellers are core components of compressors and turbopumps, which are themselves some of the most common pieces of industrial equipment. While impellers can be open or closed, the closed, or shrouded, type of impeller is utilized in high-performance pumps where efficiency is top priority. These shrouded impellers are often used in turbopumps for aerospace and rocket propulsion, electric submersible pumps for oil and gas, and industrial compressors.

Shrouded impellers present a unique challenge in manufacturing. Traditionally, shrouded impellers have been five-axis machined with both the bottom impeller and shroud created as separate pieces which are then brazed or EBM welded together. This process tends to be costly and low yield.

The Velo3D solution deploys a next-generation printing process that can produce a shrouded impeller up to a 12” diameter, with shroud angles down to 5 degrees without the need for supports. This repeatable printing process drastically increases yield and lowers lead time while cutting down on costly post-processing that can add time and money to producing a finished part.

Read more about how Velo3D is redefining turbopumps here.

It’s an exciting time for metal AM. At Velo3D, every client presents a unique opportunity for innovation, and each part brings its own challenges to solve. Through the Velo3D end-to-end solution—Flow™, Sapphire®, and Assure™, with our underlying Intelligent Fusion manufacturing process— which integrates design, manufacturing, and quality assurance, we’ve redefined what is possible with metal AM and helped engineers produce mission-critical components that perform better, weigh less, and feature more complicated geometries than ever before; and all while cutting time of production.

Are you interested in learning more about how Velo3D’s end-to-end AM solution can transform your manufacturing processes? Get in touch with one of our experts today.

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About the Author

Amir Iliaifar

Sr. Content Marketing Manager

Amir Iliaifar is the Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Velo3D where he oversees the production and distribution of Velo3D’s global digital content marketing initiatives. Prior to joining the company, Amir worked for a leading professional drone manufacturer, several SaaS companies, and as an automotive tech journalist. He holds a Master of Arts in Digital Communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.