Optomec, a leading global supplier of production grade additive manufacturing systems for 3D printed metals today announced that the Center for Remanufacturing and Resources Recovery (C3R) at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)is restoring legacy components with their LENS 3D Hybrid Vertical Milling Center (VMC) system. The hybrid system at C3R utilizes LENS 3D printing technology integrated within a conventional CNC vertical mill providing additive and subtractive capabilities in a single machine tool. C3R is successfully restoring metal components with their LENS 3D Hybrid VMC not possible with other repair methods such as thermal spray.
C3R is considered one of the world’s leaders in remanufacturing, which involves restoring worn or damaged in-service parts to extend their useful life.At the end of their life, complex components within modern machinery contain significant value in the form of raw materials, material processing, logistics management, and intricate machining. Remanufacturing of components provides a method of capturing the intrinsic value of a part and sometimes an entire machine if parts cannot be sourced. C3R is employing the LENS 3D Hybrid VMC as a way to remanufacture complex components for industry and government equipment.The LENS process combined with a traditional mill allows parts to have damaged material removed, surface prepped, structure restored, and function machined back into the part, all within a single setup. Current projects at C3R are investigating the use of the LENS system for restoring the original capability of cast iron and steel parts for another life cycle. Preliminary results have shown minimal modification of the substrates’ subsurface microstructure, low porosity, and quality adhesion.
The LENS process can either fully build 3D metal parts, when replacement parts are no longer available, or selectively and precisely add materials onto an existing metal component of almost any 3-dimensional shape – making it ideally suited to perform repair/remanufacturing operations. The process leverages LENS Directed Energy Deposition technology, which is an industrial proven method to add metal directly onto an existing metal part. The LENS print head delivers powdered metal and a highly focused laser beam to the damaged part area enabling repair of components in a way not possible with traditional repair methods such as welding and thermal spray. The highly focused heat input of the LENS process minimizes the Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) inthe part under repair, and reduces the chance of distortion while also improving adhesion.
The Center for Remanufacturing and Resource Recovery (C3R®) at Rochester Institute of Technology is internationally recognized as the leading center for research and development in the remanufacturing field. The Center was established as a partnership between industry, academia, and the government to support industry advancement. Since 1991, C3R has worked to develop, test, and implement efficient and cost-effective remanufacturing processes while also promoting the design of products that have minimal negative environmental impacts. C3R is one of several research unitslocated atthe Golisano Institute for Sustainability (GIS).
The Center conducts independent research on remanufacturing technologies, design for remanufacturing, logistics and policy, and business operations. The Center is closely tied and aligned with the Remanufacturing Industries Council and functions as its research and development arm, both nationally and internationally. More information can be found at http://www.rit.edu/gis/remanufacturing/
Optomec is a privately-held, rapidly growing supplier of Additive Manufacturing systems. Optomec’s patented Aerosol Jet Systems for printed electronics and LENS 3D Printers for metal components are used by industry to reduce product cost and improve performance. Together, these unique printing solutions work with the broadest spectrum of functional materials, ranging from electronic inks to structural metals and even biological matter. Optomec has more than 200 marquee customers around the world, targeting production applications in the electronics, energy, life sciences, and aerospace industries. For more information about Optomec, visit http://optomec.com.