Cooksongold Additive Manufacturing Set to Revolutionise the Glass Fibre Industry
Cooksongold AM and Sempsa JP, part of the Heimerle + Meule Group, have announced that they are working to innovate glass fibre production by 3D Printing (also known as Additive Manufacturing) the Tip Plates of Bushings made from Precious Metal.
Working in partnership with the Institut für Textiltechnik of RWTH Aachen University (ITA) and EOS GmbH (EOS), Cooksongold AM have produced a full-size Tip Plate from a Platinum/Rhodium alloy that has successfully passed its initial production trials at Johns Manville in Slovakia.
Cooksongold AM has been working with EOS for several years to industrialise their M 080 and M 100 AM machines and make them compatible with precious metals. Cooksongold AM has also developed a wide range of precious metal parameters for use in the EOS AM technology.
The ability to now print with precious metals on an industrial scale and, through innovative AM strategies, optimise applications to make them commercially viable, is proving a powerful technology enabler. Combine this with the research being carried out at ITA as well as the manufacturing expertise and history of Sempsa JP, it now becomes a seismic step forward to the Additive Manufacturing technology being rolled out, on a global scale, for Industrial Production of precious metal applications. The ITA is a key partner in transferring the consortium’s additive manufacturing expertise to the glass fibre industry.
Image via Cooksongold
To facilitate this ‘revolution’ AMPS (Advanced Manufacturing Process Solutions) GmbH has been established. It will act as a ‘technology showcase’ for the complete new manufacturing process chain as well as provide R&D and prototyping services. Glass fibre companies from around the world were quick to join up and it has been structured to suit every participant’s individual needs. A ‘cost-sharing’ environment, free of intellectual property, sits above individual research and development ‘cells’, where all the commercially sensitive work takes place. This novel way of collaboration is identifying innovation that will continue to advance glass fibre production beyond recognition over the next decade.
As a result of this unique approach to worldwide technology implementation, the members of the collaboration were awarded the ‘JEC Composites Magazine Special Prize’ on 13 May online for the first time due to recent global health crises , recognising the true potential for AM within the glass fibre industries.
Martin Bach, Managing Director of Cooksongold says “I am incredibly proud to be receiving the JEC Magazine Special Prize but even more proud of my team, who have managed to bring together a global collaboration in such a way that it is poised to deliver game-changing material and design innovation and efficiencies in production, that could’ve only been dreamed of a few short years ago”
Prof. Thomas Gries, Director of ITA says “We are excited to be receiving this prestigious award for our work in the field of additive manufacturing for bushings. We truly believe that the developments will be a key enabler for future innovations in the field of glass fibre production, and I am proud of my team of researchers and our collaborators to have made this possible. As an institute developing processes, equipment and machinery, ITA goes beyond just developing fibre and textile products. Digital manufacturing of the bushings allows us to step across existing process innovation borders and allows production and product innovation never seen before.”
Thomas Weitlaner, Director of Additive Minds & Business Development of EOS adds, “At EOS we are working every day to make industrial 3D printing a sustainable, mainstream manufacturing process. The 3D printing of tip plates is another great example, how additive manufacturing can bring real business value and innovation to the glass fibre industry. Additionally we see a lot more promising applications that can further increase the efficiency of the glass fibre production process. The combination of such innovative applications and the setup of Additive Manufacturing in the Digital Factory will result in huge innovation potential.