Aug 16, 2016 | By Alec

It’s seems like Russia is working hard to become a full-fledged 3D printing power in its own right. Just over the last few months, various Russian institutes and universities have revealed their 3D printing projects; Tomsk University scientists even launched a partially 3D printed microsatellite back in late March. But Rosatom, Russia’s government-led nuclear energy corporation is clearly paving the way foward. After revealing their very own metal 3D printer earlier this summer, Rosatom has just upped the ante with plans to build numerous industrial metal 3D printing centers with an eye on 2030.

Rosatom is the Russian state corporation that runs all domestic nuclear activities (both for military and energy purposes). While you might wonder what on earth a nuclear corporation wants with 3D printing, it makes a lot more sense when looking at the prominent place nuclear energy has in Russia. While a country with a huge natural resources, they are working hard to shift their dependence from gas and oil to nuclear power, in an attempt to cope with growing demands and decreasing natural reserves. Electricity is also much cheaper to export than gas, and the Russian powers are convinced that nuclear power is the key solution in this policy shift.

Furthermore, while Rosatom already operates a lot of nuclear power plants, many are in need of updates or extensive maintenance, placing a significant burden on their infrastructure. Combine that with the government’s desire to double the electricity output by 2030, and that means that Rosatom is faced with serious technological challenges. In that climate, metal 3D printing could be a very welcome tool for maximizing efficiency and overcoming financial limitations.

This certainly explains the prominent role 3D printing has in Rosatom’s new Innovation Development and Technology Modernization Program, which is focused on the period until 2030. Ultimately, they want to have several industrial centers for 3D printing production up and running, and in the coming years that program will be supported with various development projects.

So what can be expected? Well Rosatom will initially focus on improving their selective laser melting technology and software, with plans for the development of simulation software for highly complex geometries made from basic materials on the agenda for 2018. A detailed overview of all technical aspects of the 3D printing process and metal alloy powder production is also under development. By 2020, Rosatom scientists should be looking at robotic production lines for these metal 3D printers, while simultaneously developing a manufacturing capacity of up to 100 tons per year.

This will be necessary, they say, to compete in tomorrow’s energy market. The Russian specialists further argued that the development of metal 3D printing with an eye on production is currently considered to be the most potent of all options, and that it will be their first priority. If successful, Russia could definitely find itself at the forefront of metal 3D printing.



Posted in 3D Printing Service



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