LUMO adopts 3D printing for manufacturing compressor shafts –


German metal AM company LUMO recently announced a collaboration with Chinese company Eplus3D to produce prototypes of compressor shafts for the construction industry. These shafts are an essential part of screw compressors and play a crucial role in facilitating gas compression between rotors and their housing.

The required components for these shafts had dimensions of 100x100x400 mm and featured intricate freeform surfaces. Traditional manufacturing methods were deemed too expensive and time-consuming, leading the companies to explore additive manufacturing as an alternative.

Screw compressors work by compressing air or gas using two synchronized counter-rotating rotors. These rotors are connected via compressor shafts, which are subjected to demanding operational conditions, requiring durability and resistance to moisture.

After evaluating various manufacturing alternatives, casting was ruled out due to unsatisfactory material properties and long lead times. CNC milling and grinding were also considered cost-prohibitive due to tool wear and the complexity of the components.

3D printing, specifically LBFB (Laser Beam Freeform Fabrication), emerged as a viable solution due to its advantages, including reduced lead times, design flexibility, a wide range of material options, and overall cost efficiency. Eplus3D recommended their CX material, known for its desirable attributes like hardness and thermal conductivity.

Following design adjustments, the 3D printing process was carried out using powder bed fusion technology, ensuring precision and accuracy. Post-printing, the components were further processed through CNC machining to achieve a roughness of Rz 6.3 µm and precise bearing seats.

Functional tests were conducted to validate the mechanical properties of these 3D printed shafts, confirming their suitability for use in screw compressors.

This collaboration between LUMO and Eplus3D highlights the benefits of a targeted partnership between a 3D printing service provider and an experienced system supplier of additive manufacturing equipment with broad expertise across various industries.

The ability to leverage the strengths and capabilities of both companies allowed for the successful production of high-quality compressor shaft prototypes, demonstrating the potential of additive manufacturing in the construction industry.

To stay updated on the latest developments in additive manufacturing, be sure to follow LUMO and Eplus3D on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also sign up for their weekly additive manufacturing newsletter to receive all the latest stories directly in your inbox.


Original source


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