Additive manufacturing make way for the future Additive manufacturing is taking centre stage as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic plays havoc with global supply chains. Louisa Elena Mondora, general manager at Valland and Valeria Tierelli, CEO Aidro Hydraulics, are excited about the prospects it offers manufacturers. Pipes, Pumps and Valves Africa finds out more. It was already back in 2019 at an industry conference in Europe that Mondora was first introduced to the concept of additive manufacturing. She admits to being immediately “star-struck” by it and after extensive discussions with Tierelli, who had already adopted 3D printing in the manufacturing process at Aidro Hydraulics, that she returned to Valland intent on seeing it introduced into their operations as well. “I immediately started looking at a possible use case and we extensively brainstormed it with our engineering department. The first project that we undertook was aimed at learning more about the process and how it could be incorporated into our manufacturing processes large scale.” The team were much encouraged by the developments they had seen at Airdro Hydraulics where the use of 3D printing in research and development to re-design hydraulic components had benefited the company. Several industries including the automotive and aerospace sectors have seemingly embraced additive manufacturing.
Pipes, Pumps and Valves Africa - May/Jun 2021
Tierelli has been an advocate for the increased use of additive manufacturing, particularly in the oil and gas sector. Additive manufacturing or AM as it is also sometimes referred as is the process of building 3D objects by adding layer-upon-layer of material, whether the material is plastic, metal, concrete or human tissue. It provides opportunities for both prototypes and final components. According to Mondora, a variety of materials can be used in additive manufacturing. Polymers and metals are the most common and are particularly efficient for low-volume manufacturing minimizing waste. Valve case study Mondora and Tierelli worked together on a valve component conferring revolutionary properties to conventional materials. In the study, the team willingly did not follow the design standards and purposefully set out to stress the material properties. Says Mondora, “The goal was to test the limit of additive manufacturing and not necessarily the safety factor on the component itself.”