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Metal Additive Manufacturing

SBI Plasma Arc Additive Manufacturing

Sectors : Aerospace, Automotive, Industry, Railway

SBI is an Austrian manufacturer of additive manufacturing machines using PAAM – Plasma Arc Additive Manufacturing technology. Intended for the production of large volume parts, the machines allow rapid production of rough metal to be machined afterwards.

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Background Information on SBI

SBI was founded in 1999 with strong aspiration to mature rapid prototyping technologies. Consequently, SBI developed its plasma technologies and has been building unparalleled metal welding solutions at its highest level. From automated solutions for cladding technologies to repair forging dies, or plasma arc deposition machines to maintain aircraft turbines, SBI established worldwide well-known references in the field of plasma arc deposition. Since 2009 SBI established itself as the main supplier of its plasma core technology for 3D manufacturing of aircraft parts.

Since 2016 SBI is developing its own Additive Manufacturing machines. Now it is ready to bring the most advanced metal additive manufacturing system to the market, the M3DP.

Plasma Arc Deposition Experience for two decades

SBI has gained its industrial experience in plasma arc deposition for two decades, its state-of-the-art technology owns many advantages.

One of the main advantages for metallic printing is the focussed arc, which is independent from the fed wire. This means the plasma arc can be used for printing and heating applications throughout the process.

The M3DPs list of printable materials comprises materials like aluminium, titanium, mild steel, stainless steel, nickel-base alloys, and copper.

M3DP – a standard product, adaptable to your needs:

Having more than 2 decades of experience in delivering automated machines, SBI has developed a standard product with several optional elements, which can be configured to the costumer’s needs. This includes different configurations of the build volume as well as an unparalleled number of in-situ quality options.

The M3DP offers the smallest footprint compared to the build volume. If the standard options are not enough, SBI can adapt its product to specific customers’ needs.

Highest deposition rate

One of the most significant features of the M3DP are incredibly high deposition rates, which can be up to 10 kg/h, when using steel.

Parts produced by PAAM are near-net shape. That means they have to be machined after printing (milling, lathing, …) but in a far lower degree than machining out of a solid substrate (i.e. block, billet, …). The work, which is linked to this post processing, is cheaper than in traditional processes. Every material, which can be joined by fusion welding, can be processed by the M3DP. Of high interest are materials like titanium, nickel-based alloys, high alloyed steels and aluminium, because of their high cost-saving potentials.

A complete solution

Before starting to print, a readable G-code file has to be generated. This is done by the slicer-software, which slices the 3D-CAD file into vertical layers and generates a print strategy. This strategy is further combined with parameters and routines which gives the G-code. The G-code is further transmitted to the M3DP, which executes the code and prints the part layer by layer.

The process is video logged which is timestamped and linked to relevant parameters including the welding current, wire feed speed and travelling speed, thus enabling a post process analysis and optimization. After each layer, a 3D scan is done to guarantee that the printed shape fulfils the geometrical requirements. The 3D scan is further matched with the 3D CAD file to check if the printed part fits the desired 3D model, and it is used to create an adaptive control of the print process.

The M3DP is optionally enclosed by a gas tight cover which enables the creation of an inert gas atmosphere to process sensitive materials such as titanium and nickel-based alloys. Atmospheres with less than 15ppm oxygen and 30ppm moisture can be achieved.

The main field of applications for the M3DP are aerospace, tooling, oil & gas, naval architecture as well as mechanical engineering and automotive.

SBI presents two products in its catalog:

  • The M3DP machine, which has an available manufacturing volume of 2m x 0.6m x 0.6m (X x Y x Z)
  • The M3DP-BL machine, which has an available manufacturing volume of 400mm x 500mm diameter

The manufacturing rates are as follows:

  • Aluminum alloy: up to 4kg / h
  • Steel, Nickel or Cobalt Alloy: up to 10kg / h
  • Titanium alloy: up to 5kg / h