South Korea based Hanwha Power systems has sought the expertise of Stratasys Direct Manufacturing a 3D printing firm to help them with the designing of a 3D printed winding sheet for a solar power project. The blueprint has been successfully replicated using VELO3D‘s Sapphire metal 3D printing system.
Power generating systems are intricately made up of a network of hundreds of essential parts. Through 3D printing, there has been the chance to reproduce the geometrical components and merge them for power generating applications. 3D printing allows for a fast replication of blueprints hence hastening the development cycle of various parts.
Through the leadership of senior engineer Chad Robertson, the team at Hanwha Power Systems has been working on a super-efficient power generation system using Supercritical C02 (S-C02) fluid in a recompression Brayton cycle. This system under development passes heat from a solar arrangement into the S-C02 liquid which is then directed through several radial expanders to generate power. This process results in high temperatures and pressures that the turbomachines have to efficiently work with.
Robertson and team came up with the shrouded turbine wheel with a covered flow path for achieving peak efficiency. The intricate geometry presented challenges at the prototyping phase which led the Hanwha team to contact Stratasys Direct Manufacturing for help.
Working together the teams experimented with the use of DMLS which didn’t work out because of the impellor’s height and the several internal supports needed. Finally, a prototype utilizing VELO3D’s Sapphire metal AM system support free structures was developed. This component printed from Nickel Alloy 718, was heat-treated, went through CNC machining, and associated post-processing in readiness for functional testing.
Stratasys Direct Manufacturing was able to provide an exceptional prototype of the shrouded impeller that was cost and time efficient in comparison to other 3D printing technologies. Robertson noted that the Centrifugal impeller wheel prototypes made by Stratasys Direct as well as the Sapphire Machine from VELO3D has deepened their desire for 3D printing. It gives them a chance and motivation to explore the composition of materials for 3D printing.