Apr 18, 2017 | By Julia
3D printing just got a little greener upon the signing of a new contract between Sigma Labs and California turbine producer Solar Turbines Incorporated. Announced yesterday, the deal will see Sigma Labs, a leading player in 3D printing quality assurance software under the PrintRite3D brand, offer a helping hand in the production of Solar Turbines’ gas turbines.
Specifically, Sigma Labs’ patented In-Process Quality Assurance technology will be implemented in the additive manufacturing of gas turbine components. Solar Turbine’s upgraded ProX300 3D printer by 3D Systems will now be able to handle multiple system orders, as Solar Turbines ramps up its business to full serial production. The division will continue to specialize in mid-size industrial turbines for use in electric power generation, gas compression, and pumping systems.
An animated gas turbine
"We’re excited to work with Solar Turbines and help them expand their use of additive manufacturing, particularly for power generation components,” said Mark Cola, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sigma Labs.
“In addition, 3D Systems is one of the largest original equipment manufacturers of AM equipment worldwide, and this marks a great opportunity for us to showcase our technology on a new machine as well as new industrial applications. By demonstrating our PrintRite3D® software to Solar Turbines, we’re expanding Sigma Labs’ customer base and market penetration while continuing to validate our unique capabilities in real world environments,” he said.
Sigma Labs looks forward to working with Solar Turbines as they pursue qualification and production certification for precision metal components using 3D printing, Cola added.
California-based Solar Turbines is a subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc, a manufacturing company for construction machines. Currently retaining about 8,500 employees at its San Diego headquarters, Solar Turbines has steadily climbed to a leading position in the world of manufacturing industrial gas turbines. The company currently boasts 15,300 Solar Turbine units operating in 100 countries, accounting for a total of over 2.4 billion hours of operating experience. But what actually sets Solar Turbines apart from its competitors is longevity: unlike the vast number of recent startups focused on sustainability, Solar Turbines has over 60 years of experience under its belt in designing, developing, and commercializing industrial gas turbines and other turbomachinery.
The news is a promising sign for the role 3D printing has yet to play in future sustainable development. While additive manufacturing companies can already claim a relatively “green” status due to aspects like waste and energy reduction, the full incorporation of 3D printing technology into established environmentally friendly industries is a road yet to be fully paved.
ProX300 3D printer by 3D Systems
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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