2 March, 2023
BMT Additive designed a piece for a machine and 3D printed it, easy explained but what lurks behind the scenes? BMT Aerospace is constantly looking for opportunities to optimize production processes. We do this by zooming in on the operation of our machines and the quality our machines deliver to the products. Because in the end it’s all about quality.
The piece we designed is called a nozzle and functions today for our Makino 1 and soon for our Makino 2 as well. The Makino machines pre-grind the racks coming out of the copper plating process. In this process it is very important that the parts can cool down fast, this to prevent the parts get overheated. That is the responsibility of the nozzle, it is used to project cooling fluid on the gears during this process.
Originally, a conventionally manufactured nozzle was implemented in the Makino machines. They were welded from two separate pieces, but kept breaking up from the welding points multiple times in short amount of time. We tried fixing the problem with a 3D printed nozzle from a supplier, it lasted longer but the flow was not optimized for our gear grinding application, this is what you can see in the picture on the left. Our own R&D and design engineering team did an extensive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations and obtained the optimum flow for the application.
BMT Additive 3D printed the final design that came out from the simulations, which you can see on the right of the picture above. With this design we have achieved two key advantages:
1. All three gear teeth that are grinded at a given time became accessible by the cooling fluid. The grinding stone grinds three gear teeth at a time, and with the previous nozzles only 1 or 2 teeth received cooling fluid (not desirable). This is important for both optimizing cooling and remove grinded particles from the gear teeth.
2. Coolant flow became almost perfectly linear and achieved cooling performance that was not possible before.
The precision of 3D printing is so high that it gives great advantages on several levels. With 3D printing you can print exactly the right piece to have the best flow of the water. With our new nozzle, we prevented the process from being disrupted by malfunctions and our parts cooled down faster. Thanks to our in-house Additive Manufacturing technology, we are able to optimize the manufacturing flow of our parts.
With this innovative and evolving technology, we can create smart improvements that lead to multiple benefits, such as a more precise production process with a reduced number of production steps.