GKN Additive has announced a new partnership with Germany-based Kueppers Solutions, an expert in industrial combustion technology. Through the collaboration, GKN Additive will mass produce highly energy-efficient mixing units for industrial burners using additive manufacturing, which will help to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions in the industry substantially.
Kueppers Solutions has pioneered a new type of mixing unit for natural gas burners that reduces the amount of nitrogen oxide emissions, resulting in a much more efficient combustion process. The key to the optimization is an intelligent design, which would be impossible to reproduce using any manufacturing methods other than metal 3D printing.
In its search for a suitable AM partner, Kueppers Solutions ultimately landed on GKN Additive because of its broad application knowledge and its experience with series production.
As Jens te Kaat, CEO of Kueppers Solutions, said: “Together with the RWTH Aachen University, we have screened the entire market in order to find a suitable partner for the industrialization of our product. GKN Additive’s experience in series production and their application know-how across a broad range of industries is unique.
“Typically, we are used to explaining our project in detail to potential partners and still tend to encounter obstacles. With GKN it was the other way around: their team was the fastest to understand the potential. GKN’s ‘Let’s do it!’ mentality corresponds with our own attitude.”
As the partners prepare for series production of the mixing unit, we know a few things. For one, the products will initially be manufactured using the selective laser melting (SLM) process and will be fabricated from a custom material developed jointly by the partners. The next generation of the mixing unit will reportedly be made using metal binder jetting, which is “ideally suited for this process” and will be more cost effective.
“Climate change challenges all of us to think of new ways to substantially reduce emissions,” said Guido Degen, President Additive Manufacturing at GKN Powder Metallurgy. “Kueppers’ mixing unit has made a significant contribution to preserving resources and with our experience across the whole AM value stream, we will drive the industrialization of this highly innovative product. Our common goal is to open up the market by upgrading thousands of outdated industrial burner systems with 3D printed mixing units.”
GKN Additive and Kueppers Solutions are presenting a joint press conference today at Formnext 2019 to further discuss the partnership.