Applications

Turbopumps

By leveraging VELO3D’s technology, designers can implement the optimal design that yields high quality internal channels and print in orientations that yield nearly balanced parts. This increases the applications where turbo pumps will compete, creating a new wave of innovation in power generation.

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Reduced pressure drop

Lower angles

Faster time to market

No redesign

Application Benefit

Rotating parts, like this radial turbine wheel, compress airflow through internal channels into a turbine to increase engine power. To improve performance and delivery time, manufacturers need to optimize the quality of internal channels and the balance of the part.

Traditionally turbine wheels are manufactured by 5 axis mill from solid billets of metal, brazed and/or welded. Traditional manufacturing methods presented roadblocks in terms of cost, time, and quality. Radial turbine wheels and impellers tend to be complex, expensive and difficult to manufacture.

However, by leveraging VELO3D’s technology, designers can implement the optimal design that yields high quality internal channels and print in orientations that yield nearly balanced parts. By leveraging SupportFree processes, customers can print faster, with fewer support structures, and higher quality. This increases the applications where turbo pumps will compete, creating a new wave of innovation in power generation.

Hanwha Radial Turbine Wheel

By leveraging VELO3D’s technology, designers can implement the optimal design that yields high quality internal channels and print in orientations that yield nearly balanced parts. By leveraging SupportFree processes, customers can print faster, with fewer support structures, and higher quality. This increases the applications where turbo pumps will compete, creating a new wave of innovation in power generation.

Support-free metal AM frees us up to use the geometry we'd like to use rather than being pushed into using a design that compromises the aerodynamics in order to make an AM-friendly part.
- Chad Robertson, Senior Engineer, Hanwa Power Systems Americas Inc.

Turbopump Design Challenges

To achieve higher turbo pump performance, designers look to optimize impeller or radial wheel performance. A common solution is the shrouded impeller. The shroud on the impeller makes the pump less sensitive to impeller/volute tolerancing and drift, which increases the pump performance and eliminates the potential for sparks that might result from contact with the volute. However, this creates a network of complex internal channels that make the part difficult to manufacture.

To manufacture these devices traditional, engineers utilize a muti-step manufacturing process that compromises many of these optimal geometries and features, is manually intensive, and takes a long time.

Conventional Additive Manufacturing

Conventional printers struggle with part geometries that create angles of less than 45 degrees (between the part and the build plate). This means that as surfaces reach horizontal angles, conventional printers require supports to hold the part down and avoid warping. For many impellers, supports are not an option as they would prove impossible to remove and damage the internal channels requiring extensive rework.

The Problem with Supports

For many impellers, supports are not an option as they would prove impossible to remove and damage the internal channels requiring extensive rework.

In an attempt to mitigate the effects the 45 degree rule, engineers may tilt the impeller to eliminate lower angles. This has the negative effect of adding to the print time (by making the part stand higher in the printer) and disturbing the balance of the part. Since these parts rotate at high speeds, this also creates barriers to manufacturing.

VELO3D SupportFree Processing

SupportFree metal powder-bed fusion from VELO3D provides the ability to print horizontal (down to zero degrees between the part and the build plate) surfaces without supports and with a high quality surface finish, eliminating the need to post process internal support structures. This achieves much higher quality internal channels and flow paths for gas or fluids.

Reaching the Optimal Design

Furthermore, VELO3D’s non-contact recoater floats over the powder bed, reducing the risk of a part collision. The VELO3D solution also features sensors that continually monitor the height of the part and powder bed to assure a uniform layer of powder and prevent recoater collisions. This means that designers can print up to 3000:1 aspect ratio (virtually limitless) on the VELO3D solution. Thin walls down to 300 micron in thickness, combined with high aspect ratio capability unlock many new designs that optimize heat transfer.

CONTACT THE METAL AM EXPERTS AT VELO3D

VELO3D unlocks the power of SupportFree Metal AM Printing for mission critical applications. With the Sapphire Metal AM Printer, Flow print preparation software, and Assure quality assurance and control system, engineers have the means to  print the impossible for higher performing solutions.

Contact our engineers to get started