The FIT Additive Manufacturing Group is preparing to install a state-of-the-art hot isostatic press (HIP) with Uniform Rapid Quenching (URQ) from Swedish leader in high pressure technology Quintus Technologies. The press will allow the AM company to enhance its productivity and address the stringent requirements for industry-grade 3D printed metal series parts.
The German additive manufacturing group will begin operating the Quintus Technologies press this September at its facility in Lupburg, Germany. The adoption of the post-processing equipment showcases FIT’s dedication to remaining at the cutting edge of the 3D printing industry.
The press model—the QIH 32 M URQ—is capable of operating at temperatures up to 1400°C and at a pressure of 30,000 psi, with a capacity of 120 kg per load in a work zone that measures 270 x 500 mm. Quintus’ proprietary URQ technology makes it possible for heat and cooling treatments to be combined in a single process known as High Pressure Heat Treatment (HPHT).
In short, HPHT and HIP are used to consolidate and densify metal, ceramic and plastic parts, resulting in a maximum theoretical density, ductility and fatigue resistance in high-performance materials. The processes can help to improve the quality and performance of 3D printed series parts.
“We have evaluated the requirements of 250 international industrial customers for five years, and HIP turned out as an answer to many quality issues,” explained Carl Fruth, CEO of FIT AG. “The results that can be achieved by combining AM and HPHT are highly encouraging. It’s beyond all question that our customers will benefit strongly from this partnership. I even think that all additive serial manufacturing will experience a big boost when integrating HPHT as a post-processing service.”
Quintus Technologies CEO Jan Söderström, also believes his company’s post-processing technology can help in the industrialization of additive manufacturing. “We expect that the industrialization of AM in general will be revolutionized once HPHT post-processing is adopted by leading AM specialist FIT Additive Manufacturing Group,” he said. “The overall optimization of process parameters and material-specific heat treatment parameters in an in-line, lean-process production context will lead to a new benchmark for dramatically optimized quality levels while reducing costs.”
In addition to installing Quintus’ press equipment, FIT is also collaborating with the Swedish company on a marketing effort aimed at expanding adoption of the post-process. FIT has also signed on for a five-year Quintus Care agreement, a preventative maintenance program to optimize press functionality at a fixed annual cost.
“FIT was very intrigued by Quintus’ ability to offer a complete partnership: the system itself, the Quintus Care program including application support, and the marketing agreement,” Söderström added. “With this partnership we see the possibility to enter the market in the best possible way.”