Fast, efficient, flexible: Additive Manufacturing (3D-printing) in the energy sector

Additive Manufacturing (AM) opens up huge opportunities for Siemens by revolutionizing the manufacturing and repair of components.

Be it rapid prototyping or manufacturing parts for aero-derivative, gas and steam turbines or compressors, they can be designed faster, with increased flexibility, better materials, and optimized efficiency. This way, 3D printing enables cutting edge technologies with reduced time-to-market and quick upgrading of existing assets. Being both a pioneer and a leader in the industrialization of AM, Siemens is in an excellent position to give its customers products and the tools they need for the next generation of power products. 

If you can dream it, you can print it! We are happy to start this dialogue with you!

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How additive technologies help us shape the future

At the prestigious Additive Next 2019 event, Vladimir Navrotsky had the pleasure to talk about Siemens progress in additive manufacturing (AM) industrialization and field experience of 3D printed gas turbine components. Read more in his recent blog.

Better Applications

From design to repair - AM changes everything

A value chain transformed 

Additive Manufacturing revolutionizes industry products by shifting from conventional to digitally driven design, service and repair.

As energy providers seek to improve power production, conventional manufacturing technologies have a harder time meeting the need for more efficient compressors, combustion with reduced emissions or turbines managing higher temperatures. AM helps pushing the technology edge. 3D printing transforms design, by allowing just about any imaginable structure to be created with polymers, metals, or ceramic materials. Even more, Additive Manufacturing virtually demands innovation, as it allows implementing novel geometries that were not possible before. E.g., turbine blades can be cooled by complex internal channels, thereby improving their functional efficiency.

 

Additionally, AM is fast: It enables rapid prototyping resulting in up to 75% of former development time. And AM is more sustainable by consuming up to 65% less resources, by reducing gas emissions by up to 30% and generally by creating components with longer lifespans. And if a piece as a burner tip needs to be repaired, this process also can be speed up considerably The global market for AM-related materials, machinery, software and services is booming. Siemens intends to help drive this rapid growth by developing next-generation products, engineering services, and digital solutions – comprehensively addressing the entire value chain from design to service. 

Case in point: In early 2017 at Siemens’ Lincoln the first successful full-load engine tests for gas turbine blades (SGT-400 Blade 1) completely produced using Additive Manufacturing was achieved. 3D printing facilities at Materials Solutions in Worcester, UK, and in Finspong , Sweden, used Selective Laser Melting (SLM) to design and 3D printed gas turbine blades. It took advantage of  the whole technology suite Siemens provides: From the generative design for the digital model to rapid prototyping, a full-scale engine test and finally optimizing cooling designs. All together this resulted in finished blades with a substantially reduced lead time of 75% and minimized risk.

 

Unsurprisingly, Siemens is in the process of developing AM-solutions not just for turbine blades, but also turbine vanes, burner nozzles, or radial impellers.

Portfolio

Additive Manufacturing product portfolio

More about Additive Manufacturing

Innovation

High-tech repairs and coating with the help of laser welding / laser cladding

In 2016 Siemens has opened the Laser Cladding Center (LCC) in Nuremberg. This welding facility represents the highest process quality standards and promises to significantly reduce the time required to manufacture and repair compressor-, generator-, steam- turbine rotors, casings and hard coating of valve parts. Laser metal deposition (LMD) – also referred to as laser deposition welding – is a well-established process for years. Another example of its use is for tip repair for gas turbine blades from Siemens.
 

Laser Metal Deposition (LMD)

Gallery

AM in sound and vision

Outlook

In the coming years, Siemens will meet demands of energy providers with the help of AM, through an integrated development of rapid prototyping, testing and printing components for energy production.

Siemens started investing in AM close to its beginnings in 2009 – and went on to develop the technology especially for power generation. For example, in 2012 Siemens installed the first EOS M280 SLM printer specifically adapted for burner repair. In 2013 the first 3D-printed burner tips and burner swirls were installed in commercial gas turbines. In 2016 Siemens acquired Materials Solutions, one of the world leaders in Additive Manufacturing. In 2017 gas turbine blades were successfully printed and tested. In 2017 3D-printed burners heads were also installed for commercial operation. And in 2018 an oil sealing ring for a steam turbine was additively manufactured and installed.

 

Today, Siemens  continues to drive the industrialization and commercialization of 3D-printing especially in the energy sector. Siemens currently provides a comprehensive portfolio of market-leading solutions to fully digitalize AM, from design and engineering software to cutting-edge simulation tools, full machine and shop-floor automation. Therefore, the company is well positioned to drive industrial AM-technology forward into the future.

 

Siemens’ current R&D focus is to develop more innovative AM-applications along the whole industrial value chain which are cost-efficient, fast, and seamlessly integrated. Within the next 10 years Siemens intends to support a worldwide printer cloud for spare parts on demand from digital twins. A key driver is the development of components that maximize the efficiency of our power generation products.

Success Stories

AM success stories

Made for Industry: Siemens is driving the industrialization and commercialization of AM processes. Here are some examples of 3D-printed parts working in the real world: in a pump, a gas and a steam turbine.

Infographic

Additive manufacturing for the energy sector

Get all information about additve manufacturing (3-D printing) for the energy sector at a glance. Download our infographic!

If you can dream it, you can print it! We are happy to start this dialogue with you!

Download infographic