USA: 3D Printing Siemens Energy, Continuous Composites Introduce New Material

Editor: Ahlam Rais

Siemens Energy and Continuous Composites have developed a high-performance material – thermoset Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) for power generators. Continuous Composites’ Continuous Fiber 3D Printing (CF3D) technology has been demonstrated for Siemens Energy’s generator components.

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Siemens Energy Power Generator.
Siemens Energy Power Generator.
(Source: Business Wire)

Idaho/USA – Continuous Composites, a disruptive composites additive manufacturer, and Siemens Energy have recently announced the successful demonstration of Continuous Fiber 3D Printing (CF3D) technology for Siemens Energy’s generator components. Through this multi-year collaboration, the companies developed a thermoset Glass Fiber Reinforced Polymer (GFRP) material, introducing better mechanical performance at higher temperatures, topology optimized designs, and dynamic fiber steering to orient anisotropic fibers in the load direction for customized applications.

Continuous Composites and their materials partner, Arkema, through its Sartomer Business, jointly developed a high temperature CF3D thermoset polymer, enabling the printing of large complex parts that would not be manufacturable using traditional composite techniques. The material achieves a glass transition temperature (Tg) of 227°C and experiences minimal strength loss at temperatures above the Tg. The CF3D printed composites demonstrated Fiber Volume Fractions (FVF) greater than 50 % with less than 1.5 % void content.

Several generator components are currently manufactured using a metal casting process which is expensive and has long lead times. The development of these new materials paired with the CF3D process exceeds the material temperature requirements of generators and other Siemens Energy applications. The result of this demonstration in the Energy sector includes a 5x reduction of manufacturing costs and decreased lead time from 8-10 months down to 3 weeks. There is 1 million dollars in long-term downtime energy savings and a significant reduction in part weight and material waste.

“The superior mechanical performance of CF3D, combined with the significant cost and lead time reduction, led to our selection of Continuous Composites,” said Dr. Joel Alfano, Principal Technology Development Engineer at Siemens Energy. “The opportunity to replace a metallic generator component with composite materials leveraging additive manufacturing is a powerful breakthrough for solving the constraints we face in the Energy industry, and CF3D technology is making it possible.”

“The deployment of CF3D for manufacturing generator components is one example where our technology is disrupting current manufacturing processes and replacing metallic parts with high-performance composite materials,” says Tyler Alvarado, CEO of Continuous Composites. “Our collaboration with Siemens Energy demonstrates our ability to develop and customize material solutions with stringent mechanical property requirements which go well beyond the Energy sector.”