1. Let us know about you, and the organization you represent.
So my name is Evangelia Karaxi. My background is in Mining and Metallurgical Engineering. I have been working and representing Conify since July 2022 and we have been able to set a complete methodology in order to be able to recognize and identify out-of-spec powders , mainly for powder-based technologies in AM, but apart from this, we have been aiming to set up a whole list of automotive who asses metal-based components, either for wire-based and also powder-based components.
These are related to the metallurgical analysis, the metallurgical aspects of the parts being produced and also to make sure that the process optimization for custom materials, so are not commercially available powders worldwide for the other purposes of the company and also to come up with a holistic framework, in order to transfer specific components being manufactured through traditional technologies to additive manufacturing. So all the engineering work for replacing a material and replacing for example multiple weldings come up with a new component directly to introduce in different applications and sectors.
2. Why did you choose Meltio wire laser metal 3D printing solutions?
We were able to come up with one research that was based on the additive manufacturing of customized mould inserts and Meltio technology, the wire-based Meltio DED system, with the dual wire capability, was the ideal solution for this project.
So indeed, we were able to utilize the system and redesign and produce multiple moulded inserts that were actually utilized in real injection molding machines in the frame of this ample project.
3. Share your experience with Meltio. What are the Positive aspects and aspects to improve of Meltio’s technology?
Sure, one of the first aspects that was immediately realized when comparing powder-based and wire-based technologies is the cost aspect. So for sure, Meltio can provide a fast and not costly solution for prototyping or end-use parts production.
It is relatively easy to use because it’s actually a composite software that is being used in FFF technologies, like specific software for the build preparation work. So it was easy for us, even for me, that I’m not actually a hands-on person in the company as the managing director.
It was easy for me to be involved in the actual production and collaborate with the technical staff and our engineers. So the first is the ease of use and the cost aspects that are related to the technology.
4. In comparison with other DED systems, What do you think at Meltio is different?
I’m not sure I can provide specific inputs on this one because for us, at the time being, back in 2019, Meltio as a laboratory-friendly or even office friendly solution was the ideal system or even the only system available that for a small company, a startup company that needs to meet high standards for tooling production, so we have only used Meltio technology for the application that we were then interested in.
5. Could you tell us more information about current applications or future applications do you want to use with Meltio’s technology?
We want for sure to deepen our knowledge in the tooling industry. So tooling and manufacturing through the wire-based technology. This can be related to different aspects. We have actually collaborated recently with Meltio and a whitepaper has been released mentioning the technology, the advantages that it can offer and we have shown also the implementation of the technology in real scale application and real injection moulding applications. Some aspects could be going into deep with design modifications in order to come up with a more efficient components with less cost and less print time, but also to be compatible with the requirements of, for example, for fast manufacturing and fast cooling of the components.
This was actually one of the main aspects that your project was focusing on, and this is one application that we aim even in collaboration with Meltio to exploit more and come up with a white paper number two, showing additional advantages and capabilities of the Meltio system.
6. Do you think that Meltio’s technology is ready to replace industrial processes for automotive, aerospace? Or not?
Now to be honest, we have focused more on powder-based technologies and in outer space cases we have been able to submit, some proposal applications that we found for.
So yes, I believe that there are technical challenges that the laser powder bed, systems and the corresponding technologies are not necessarily efficient, but more capable of producing complex parts as everyone is involved in the additive manufacturing industry and knows. But I believe that with the methodology that will combine design for additive manufacturing methodologies in order to adapt the components to the end user application and to the capabilities and limitations of the DED system technology, then we could actually come up with different solutions and most importantly, cost-effective solutions with comparison to laser powder bed fusion.
This is one of the aspects that Conify is very interested in starting and comparing technologies and going into the lifecycle cost methodologies and lifecycle assessment methodologies, in general, to see which of these technologies is more relevant with respect to the final end-use component.
7. Which is your ideal way to collaborate with Meltio in the future?
There are different alternatives because I believe that Meltio can actually gain from collaborations with its customers. Related to Conify, we could support the company in low-tier activities related to material development, metallurgical analysis and price optimization for customers and new wire materials and these can conclude with relevant studies either for mechanical properties, internal porosity assessment. So, multiple activities can be transferred and build a solid end-use case. I believe that the company has the right profile to support Meltio in this aspect.
I believe that Meltio can also provide additional details and knowledge to its customers, for example, by providing a real components to be studied because this is where the real challenges are, just to have a solid framework behind, and be able to share confidential information and collaborative even with the end user, which probably Meltio has channels and collaborations with.
8. When you talk about new materials, which new materials are you looking for DED with Meltio’s technology?
One example could be a new material for permanent magnets that we have been recently working on.
Again, there can be found different methodologies and technologies to be studied for the manufacturing of these materials. One can actually use the laser powder bed fusion system and blend powders, but we have seen multiple studies about powder-based DED systems in order to be able to fast screen different compositions and tune the chemical composition to see which of the materials is actually related and it can supply the requirements, that conform to the requirements of the end-user regarding the magnetic properties. This is just one example that comes to my mind now.
9. Can you quantify the savings for special for special metal printed part ?
I would say that the wire materials that we have been working with are costing at least one-fifth of the related powder materials that we use for the laser powder bed diffusion system and this comes up to ten times more for powders.
If one thinks of specific materials used in aerospace, for example, as Scalmalloy powders, that can even reach up to 200 or 500 € per kilogram. Nevertheless, there are also R&D activities that could be used for custom materials for specific wires, in order to boost further the technology. I’m sure that, for example, some alloy does not come in a wire form, so there are certain limitations there too.