Cooksongold AM and Sempsa JP, part of the Heimerle + Meule Group, presented a new precious metal AM based approach to innovating glass fiber production via platinum-rhodium tip plates of bushings (which are used to extrude the fibers). The announcement was originally scheduled to coincide with the JEC show, which was supposed to be taking place through May 14th and has instead been moved to March 2021.
The members of the collaboration were awarded the ‘JEC Composites Magazine Special Prize’ on May 13th, online, for the first time, due to recent global health crises, recognizing the true potential for AM within the glass fiber industries.
“I am incredibly proud to be receiving the JEC Magazine Special Prize but even more proud of my team, who have managed to bring together a global collaboration in such a way that it is poised to deliver game-changing material and design innovation and efficiencies in production, that could’ve only been dreamed of a few short years ago,” said Martin Bach, Managing Director of Cooksongold.
The new approach to implementing precious metal 3D printing will be showcased through AMPS (Advanced Manufacturing Process Solutions) GmbH. The new company has been established to act as a ‘technology showcase’ for the complete new manufacturing process chain as well as provide R&D and prototyping services.
Glass fiber companies from around the world were quick to join up and it has been structured to suit every participant’s individual needs. A ‘cost-sharing’ environment, free of intellectual property, sits above individual research and development ‘cells’, where all the commercially sensitive work takes place. This novel way of collaboration is identifying innovation that will continue to advance glass fiber production beyond recognition over the next decade.
The full-size tip plate, 3D printed using a platinum/rhodium alloy was developed by Cooksongold in partnership with the Institut für Textiltechnik of RWTH Aachen University (ITA) and EOS GmbH (EOS). It has successfully passed its initial production trials at Johns Manville in Slovakia.
Cooksongold AM has been working with EOS for several years to industrialize the EOS M 080 and M 100 metal AM platforms to support optimized 3D printing precious metals. Cooksongold AM has also developed a wide range of precious metal parameters for use in the EOS AM technology.
“At EOS we are working every day to make industrial 3D printing a sustainable, mainstream manufacturing process,” added Thomas Weitlaner, Director of Additive Minds & Business Development of EOS. “The 3D printing of tip plates is another great example, how additive manufacturing can bring real business value and innovation to the glass fiber industry. Additionally, we see a lot more promising applications that can further increase the efficiency of the glass fiber production process. The combination of such innovative applications and the setup of Additive Manufacturing in the Digital Factory will result in huge innovation potential. I am very proud of the joint team effort so far which is confirmed by receiving this prestigious JEC award and look forward to the outcomes of the consortium project,” Weitlaner concluded.
The ability to 3D print with precious metals on an industrial scale and, through innovative AM strategies, optimize applications to make them commercially viable, is proving a powerful technology enabler. Combined with the research being carried out at ITA as well as the manufacturing expertise and history of Sempsa JP, it now becomes a significant step forward in establishing additive manufacturing technology, on a global scale, for industrial production of precious metal applications. ITA was a key partner specifically for transferring the consortium’s additive manufacturing expertise to the glass fiber industry.
*This article was updated on May 18th to reflect the fact that JEC was postponed to March 2021, instead of March 2012 as initially written.