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Mexico’s firm footing in the automotive industry makes it an ideal market for additive manufacturing technology

landrover_bar_manifold_am_partAdditive manufacturing, sometimes known as 3D printing, is a revolutionary technology able to produce complex shapes which cannot be produced by traditional techniques such as casting, forging and machining; expanding the possibilities of designing and creation of advanced components for diverse industries.

Renishaw is one of the world’s leading engineering and scientific technology companies, with expertise in precision measurement and healthcare. The company supplies products and services used in applications as diverse as jet engine and wind turbine manufacture, through to dentistry and brain surgery. It is also a world leader in the field of additive manufacturing where it is the only UK company that designs and makes industrial machines which ‘print’ parts from metal powder. Renishaw has been a user of 3D printing technologies for over 15 years, both for rapid prototyping and product development but also for the production of precise dental restorations using metal laser powder bed fusion technology. When the opportunity to acquire a company with products and expertise in additive manufacturing in metal arose it was a logical move for Renishaw to venture into AM Technology.

The company has long held the position of market leader the world of metrology and process control which is both a complementary and necessary area of expertise for anyone interested in entering the market for metal AM component production.

Solution-centre strategy

The strategy for the development of the AM business is the establishment of metal AM solutions centres worldwide with the desire to serve the common purpose of providing an environment for potential and existing customers to develop and prove the viability of a specific metal AM application with appropriate conditions such as security, confidentiality and support of Renishaw’s technical experts. Currently Renishaw’s Solution Centres are located in UK, Stuttgart, Chicago, Shanghai, Pune, Toronto with more centres due to open in the very near future.

AM benefits

• Multiple part consolidation - the number of items in an assembly can be reduced by designing as a single complex component.

• Reduce tooling costs - parts can be manufactured directly without the need for tooling.

• Access to complex geometries - internal channels for conformal cooling, hidden features, thin walls and fine meshes.

• Freedom from restrictions associated with traditional subtractive and casting manufacturing methods - when combined with applying new design rules.

• Lightweighting - only build material where it is required for optimum weight reduction

• Bespoke or customised items.

• Rapid design iterations right up to manufacture.

• Complementary tool – the additive manufacturing process can be integrated into current manufacturing processes to reduce steps, time to market and cost.

Renishaw has over 40 years’ experience, provides confidence to its customers so when it really matters to designers and manufacturers, they rely on us to help solve their tough engineering challenges and it is our purpose to provide leading-edge technology by encouraging innovation to address our customers’ needs.

AM Technology

Renishaw laser powder bed fusion is a pioneering technology in manufacturing processes by supplying material capable of producing fully dense metal parts directly from a 3D CAD model that is prepared using Renishaw QuantAM file preparation software which prepares the laser tool path and assigns appropriate laser power and speed parameters.

The parts are produced from layers of metallic powder that is fused using a high power Ytterbium fibre laser focused through an optical system that dynamically guides the energy to fuse the metallic powder where needed. The process is then repeated layer by layer to form the finished part. Layer thicknesses ranging from 20 to 100 microns.

Additive manufacturing introduces new design possibilities, including opportunities to combine multiple components in production, minimise material use and reduce tooling costs.

We offer a total solution for metal additive manufacturing, from systems, metal powders, ancillaries and software through to an expert advice and support service. Advanced metal additive manufacturing systems are designed and built by Renishaw to fulfill a range of industry applications where durability, customised parts and precision are key.

AM 400

The Renishaw AM 400 is the latest development of the Renishaw AM platform and features an increase in laser power from 200 W to 400 W while still maintaining the same 70μm spot size at the powder bed. It has been designed for users who require the flexibility to change between different materials, a range of accessories being available to minimise the risks of cross-contamination.

The AM 400 is capable of processing build files created for the standard AM 250 system without additional changes allowing an easier transition from AM 250 to AM 400. New build files will be required to fully exploit the additional laser power available on the AM 400.

RenAM 500M

The RenAM 500M is a laser powder bed fusion additive manufacturing system designed specifically for the production of metal components on the factory floor. It features automated powder and waste handling systems that enable consistent process quality, reduce operator touch times and ensure high standards of system safety. The system build volume is 250mm × 250mm × 350mm.The RenAM 500M is built using a Renishaw in house designed and manufactured optical system and control platform which forms the basis for our future additive manufacturing systems product range.

Who is using AM?

The early adopters of additive manufacturing included high-end automotive, aerospace and consumer goods customers; dental and medical industries are starting to use this technology as well. Advanced metal additive manufacturing is used to produce small numbers of industrial end use parts and an increasing number OEMs are adopting it as a complementary technology and integral part of their production processes.

AM in Mexico

Renishaw Mexico first AM machine was bought by a company provider of the automotive industry by manufacturing catalytic converters, treatment devices and exhaust modules for diesel and for gasoline systems for the purpose of protecting the environment from the emissions produced by the vehicles. The application of the AM technology allowed them to have a considerable reduction in processes and costs.

There’s the need to raise the awareness about the virtues and capabilities of this technology in Mexico, that´s why it is one of Renishaw México goals to educate the Mexican market about the advantages of this technology.

In order to achieve this, we are participating and hosting AM events, the principal of this year was the event held at the Ambassador’s Residence in Mexico City on last May, there, Clive Martell, Head of Global Additive Manufacturing at Renishaw UK, talked about the technology to an audience of 120+ people mainly from the automotive, aerospace, medical and dental industries.

Mexico is a very attractive market for the AM technology as it is housing companies from the automotive field such as Kia, Mazda, Hyundai, Volkswagen, Nissan, Ford, Honda, among others.

It is an exciting challenge we are welcoming as we are the first company in the country offering the systems, metal powders, ancillaries, software and support service directly.

Renishaw has over 40 years’ experience, provides confidence to its customers so when it really matters to designers and manufacturers, they rely on us to help solve their tough engineering challenges and it is our purpose to provide leading-edge technology by encouraging innovation to address our customers’ needs.