Triple success for castings technology specialist

10 December 2014

Castings Technology International (Cti) is celebrating a triple success for its state of the art additive manufacturing technologies.

The organisation, based at South Yorkshire's Advanced Manufacturing Park, has recently helped three separate companies to increase efficiency, cut carbon emissions and bring history back to life, using its Replicast*, MEGAshell* and 3D sand printing technologies , respectively.

Replicast* and MEGAshell* use expendable polystyrene patterns which can be machined out of a single block or built up from machined polystyrene parts.

Global pump specialist Sulzer used Replicast* technology to solve problems facing builders of a major oil pipeline.

Sulzer was called in to solve problems with the pipeline in Turkey because of earlier successes in one of the toughest terrains the pipeline ran through.

The company redesigned the pumps and, with Cti's help and technology made corrosion resistant impellers which were easier to balance, improved hydraulic efficiency and reduced power requirements.

The MEGAshell* process allows even larger investment castings to be made and has been used by German giant Siemens to make components for industrial gas turbines called 'spoke frames.'

The frames are the first parts of the engine to encounter the exhaust gases after combustion and play a critical part in the engine's performance.

Using the technology developed by Cti, part of the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Centre with Boeing, allowed Siemens to make shapes that were not previously manufacturable.

That resulted in a 40 per cent reduction in the spoke frame's weight, minimising manufacturing costs, improving performance and reducing CO2 emissions by 113 kilo tonnes.

Meanwhile, Cti's capability for using 3D printing to make sand moulds has been used by a company that rebuilds historic cars to recreate the engine of a 1927 Alfa Romeo158.

Cloth drawings from the 1920s, the latest laser scanning and reverse engineering techniques were used to create a Computer Aided Design (CAD) model of the engine.

The CAD data was then fed into the 3D printer to make sand moulds used to make the castings for the engine, which produces 355bhp - almost double its maximum output in the 1920s.

Cti commercial manager, Richard Gould, said: "Improved performance, reduced energy consumption and lower costs are essential if manufacturers are to be competitive and meet new challenges.

"Cti is proud that it has been able to develop the technologies that make that possible for companies ranging from Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to global giants."

*Replicast and MEGAshell are registered trademarks.

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