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With the opening of the new state-of-the-art 3D printing facility at Materials Solutions Ltd. in the U.K., Siemens is continuing to drive the industrialization of additive manufacturing (AM). The investment of €30 million in the new U.K. facility enables the growth of the business by doubling the capacity of 3D-printing machines to 50 and will also increase its post-processing capabilities. Siemens is taking AM out of the traditional research laboratory into an industrialized production factory. By employing industrial methods to scale up production, Siemens can bring down the costs of AM by manufacturing high-end complex metal parts in serial production in an industrial environment.
The new factory has a footprint of 4,500 m2 and is adopting a true industrial approach, housing multiple machines across a shop floor. The parts move through a variety of processes, with engineers ensuring that they’re compliant. The digital approach embedded in the factory site creates a modern digital factory and provides end-to-end service to customers. The factory employs many of Siemens’ latest digital factory and AM technologies, including an end-to-end PLM chain, Siemens’ computer-aided design software NX, and MindSphere, the Siemens cloud-based,
open IoT operating system that connects products, factories, systems, and machines with data analytics. Virtual production begins long before the actual printing. By leveraging Siemens’ design experience and expertise, Materials Solutions Ltd. is offering various design services for AM. Siemens provides engineering services and consulting to help create a digital twin of the 3D printed component. The company’s comprehensive experience is the ideal prerequisite for automating and thereby industrializing 3D printing, including post-processing, until qualification and certification – all under one roof.
Siemens’ leading metal AM technology has been validated through its in-house application in the company’s Power and Gas and Power Generation Services businesses. It has been additively manufacturing hot rotating parts for use in its gas turbines, and the company has now gathered more than 110,000 hours of engine experience with 3D-printed gas turbine parts in fully operational power plants.
Materials Solutions Ltd. is also supporting Siemens’ latest HL-class gas turbines with AM components in serial production to drive emission reduction and increased performance in the gas turbines. Siemens will use AM technology to manufacture combustion components for the SGT5-9000HL gas turbine, and they will be used for the first time by the Scottish energy company SSE plc at the combined cycle power plant Keadby 2 in Lincolnshire, U.K..
Materials Solutions Ltd. has extensive experience serving its customers in some of the most challenging industries, from power generation, aerospace, automotive, and motorsport to tooling and processing. The company has already additively manufactured thousands of functional parts and provided legacy parts through reverse engineering and tooling to over 80 customers worldwide. In 2016, Siemens acquired a majority stake (85 percent) in Materials Solutions Ltd., which was established in 2006.