Nov 18, 2016 | By Tess

With fast growing technologies like 3D printing, it seems that there is an exciting “first” almost every week. Today’s first comes from China, where the China Nuclear Power Research Institute and Nanfang Additive Manufacturing Technology Co. Ltd. (Nanfang-AM) have announced their first ever 3D printed pressure vessel cylinder prototype.

The prototype, an ACP100 pressure vessel cylinder, was 3D printed using a heavy metal additive manufacturing system developed by the China Nuclear Power Research Institute and Nanfang-AM. The 3D printed cylinder prototype marks an important step for the companies towards realizing a small pressure reactor made entirely from 3D printed parts.

The pressure vessel cylinder itself was 3D printed out of an undisclosed metal material and the prototype weighs an impressive 400 kg. According to the Chinese companies that developed the prototype, its chemical composition, as well as its material and mechanical properties meet the relevant international nuclear power regulatory requirements.

On a larger scale, the 3D printed ACP100 pressure vessel cylinder prototype has positive implications within the nuclear field on a whole, as it demonstrates the applicability and potentials of using 3D printing technology within it. Like in other industries and fields, the integration of additive manufacturing into the nuclear sector could lead to significantly shorter equipment manufacturing cycles, could reduce manufacturing and overall equipment costs, and could even improve equipment quality, efficiency, and safety due to the ability to 3D model more complex parts.

Importantly, the ability to 3D print such parts as a pressure vessel cylinder prototype has pushed forward the “Made in China 2025” initiative, which seeks to transform and upgrade Chinese industries, especially the manufacturing industries. Among the goals of the initiative are to expand innovation-driven manufacturing, emphasize quality over quantity, aspire to greener development, and more.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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