The KSB Group and Framatome in Germany are working together in the field of additive manufacturing. The cooperation will leverage the experience that KSB, a large pump and valve manufacturer, has gained in the certification process for pressure-retaining components made by additive manufacturing.
Last May, the KSB Group created a new consulting and testing center for additive manufacturing at its Pegnitz location. Drawing on over ten years of experience in additive manufacturing, the pump and valve manufacturer set out to help other companies to set up their own production facility.
This experience will now be used and implemented in the environment of nuclear reactor applications.
The companies are jointly working on a range of topics, from the qualification of feedstock to nuclear applications and right through to the manufacturing of components.
At its Pegnitz site, KSB has built up a high level of expertise over the last few years in powder bed laser fusion, specifically with respect to part quality achieved, process know-how and part testing/verification methods used.
Test specimens made by additive manufacturing can be used by materials experts in tensile and notched bar impact bending tests to determine the mechanical and technological properties of components.
The German company Framatome GmbH in Erlangen is mainly specialized in servicing and modernizing nuclear power stations in Germany and abroad.
KSB’s portfolio of services in this area ranges from advice on selecting the right equipment to develop design skills and production expertise as well as testing materials and components. KSB was the first ever manufacturer to receive TÜV certification for additive manufacturing of components subject to the European Pressure Equipment Directive. Since KSB is well equipped with 3D printers for metal, in addition to producing its own spare parts the company is also able to offer contract manufacturing of components from other industries.
At its Pegnitz location, the KSB Group has been developing and researching metal materials for over a hundred years, in particular for corrosive and abrasive applications in process engineering. It has so far developed over 300 alloys in the areas of cast iron, unalloyed steels, bronze, stainless steels and duplex steels. These alloys are used in numerous demanding applications around the world.
As the lot sizes for such applications tend to be rather small, the casting experts started exploring manufacturing techniques for casting production very early on in this new field. Additive manufacturing is therefore an ideal technology for KSB since it allows new design solutions to be quickly developed and implemented.