ArcelorMittal and Additive Industries joined forces to explore the opportunities of 3D metal printing for the steel industry using one of the largest 4-laser 3D metal printing systems available on the market: the MetalFAB1. 3D printing of spare parts is practical as it offers on-demand, on-location production which reduces the need for stock. Since the installation of the first metal 3D printer in ArcelorMittal R&D facilities, several 3D-printed spare parts have already been used while others are still running in ArcelorMittal facilities.
The MetalFAB1 metal printer automates the manual steps of conventional powder bed fusion (PBF) printers. At the same time, its build volume (420 x 420 x 400 mm; 16.5 x 16.5 x 15.75 in.) produces large steel spare parts for steelmaking or mining operations. The system is designed to be safe, contributing to ArcelorMittal’s focus on operator safety as well as environmental goals since the system recycles all material and generates hardly any production waste.
Steelmaking operations are usually faced with very challenging and demanding conditions for their spare parts. During the initial stages, the most challenging aspect faced was to achieve these requirements both for quality as well as for the size of the components, limiting the potential uses of spare parts. The last two years of collaboration have enabled those involved to improve both quality and reliability, as well as an up to fourfold increase in the size of components. Due to this improvement, the number of applications increased from small size part consolidation applications to applications where large, complex, functional and strong parts are required.
Additive Industries b.v.