Digital manufacturing innovator VELO3D announced the commercial release of a production process for additively manufactured parts in Hastelloy X. This is a nickel-based alloy, suitable for the laser powder-bed fusion (LPBF) process, that is resistant to corrosion, cracking and oxidation. Hastelloy X is most often used to manufacture parts for gas turbine engines for combustion-zone components due to its high temperature strength.
“Power generation applications such as industrial gas turbines are a key focus for VELO3D so it is important that we qualify the right materials to serve that market,” states Benny Buller, founder and CEO of VELO3D. “We will continue to add more of these types of compatible materials that enable customers to print parts they couldn’t before, yet with even better material properties than those produced by traditional manufacturing.”
Air mobility and power generation pioneer Sierra Turbines recently partnered with VELO3D to print a prototype for their 20-kilowatt microturbine engine with a unicore in Hastelloy X. They aim to print 95 percent of their engine through metal additive manufacturing, taking advantage of the design freedom possible through VELO3D’s SupportFree process.
“Sierra Turbines wants to lead aerial and power systems into a new way of manufacturing,” states founder and CEO Roger Smith. “That means pushing the limits of what is possible to create a more heat-resistant, lower maintenance, and higher-performing gas microturbine. VELO3D’s technology makes this the ideal manufacturing solution for turbines.”
VELO3D has a patented SupportFree process, which reduces the consideration of support structures for complex passageways, shallow overhangs and low angles. Coupled with their non-contact recoater, VELO3D’s printing process can create the intricate cooling passageways and fuel delivery channels needed to achieve high-output fluid transmission and electrical power.
The company recently announced that a one-meter tall system will be available in Q4 2020. For the first time with laser powder-bed fusion, meter-tall parts can be printed without support structures.