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Title:
APPARATUS FOR ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING AND USE OF THE APPARATUS
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2017/215921
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention relates to an apparatus (100) for additive manufacturing comprising a platform (130) comprising a fixing means (110) for fixing a component (10) to the platform (130), wherein the platform (130) is configured to vary an orientation of the component (10) over an angle of at least 360° according to at least one spatial direction (X, Y), and an actuation means (120) for mechanically actuating the platform (130) at a predefined frequency. Further, the present invention relates to a use of the apparatus.

Inventors:
LEBED, Yaroslav (Rohrdamm 52, Berlin, 13629, DE)
Application Number:
EP2017/063245
Publication Date:
December 21, 2017
Filing Date:
June 01, 2017
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
SIEMENS AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT (Werner-von-Siemens-Straße 1, München, 80333, DE)
International Classes:
B22F3/105; B29C67/00; B01J8/18; B01J8/40; B03B4/00; B08B3/04; B08B3/06; B22F3/24; B65B55/24; B65G65/23
Domestic Patent References:
WO2015193403A12015-12-23
Foreign References:
FR2452979A11980-10-31
US20090283109A12009-11-19
DE202016003042U12016-07-11
CN105170988A2015-12-23
EP2910362A12015-08-26
Other References:
DR BRUCE MANNING ET AL: "Bruker D8 ADVANCE Powder XRD Instrument Manual and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)", 16 August 2006 (2006-08-16), XP055328765, Retrieved from the Internet
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Claims:
Patent claims

1. Apparatus (100) for additive manufacturing comprising:

- a platform (130) comprising a fixing means (110) for

fixing a component (10) to the platform (130) , wherein the platform (130) is configured to vary an orientation of the component (10) around an angle of at least 360° according to two orthogonal spatial direction (X, Y) ,

- an actuation means (120) for mechanically actuating the platform (130) at a predefined frequency, and

- comprising a blocking mechanism (136) being configured such that, during a variation of the orientation of the platform (130), the platform (130) is engageable, e.g. via a snap means, for a reliable blocking of the plat- form (130) .

2. Apparatus (100) according to claim 1, wherein the apparatus (100) is configured such that, by the mechanical actua¬ tion of the platform (130), a powdery material (2) contained in a cavity of the component (10) being fixed to the platform (130) can be removed from the cavity (3) .

3. Apparatus (100) according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the actuation means (120) is driven by air pressure.

4. Apparatus (100) according to one of the previous claims, wherein the actuation means (120) is driven by piezoelectric and/or electromechanical means, e.g. comprising an unbalanced motor .

5. Apparatus (100) according to one of the previous claims, wherein the actuation means (120) comprises a first vibration generator being configured for actuating the base material (2) at a first frequency (Fl) and a second, vibration genera- tor being configured for actuating the structure (1) at a se¬ cond frequency (F2) being different from the first frequency

(Fl) .

6. Apparatus (100) according to claim 5, wherein the first frequency (Fl) is chosen from a first frequency range and the second frequency (Fl) is chosen from a second frequency range and wherein the first frequency range and the second frequen- cy range are disjunct.

7. Apparatus (100) according to claim 5 or 6, wherein the first vibration generator and the second vibration generator are independently controllable.

8. Apparatus (100) according to one claims 5 to 7, wherein the first vibration generator is configured for actuating the component (10) and/or the material (2) at the first frequency Fl being selected from 1 Hz to 3 kHz and the second vibration generator being independently controllable from the first vi¬ bration generator and further configured for actuating the component (10) and/or the material (2) at the second frequen¬ cy F2 being selected from 1 mHz to 1 Hz. 9. Apparatus (100) according to one of the previous claims, wherein the fixing means (120) comprises a damping mechanism which is configured to prevent a transfer of vibrations from the component (10) to the actuation means (120) . 10. Use of an apparatus (100) according to one of the previ¬ ous claims for removing of a powdery base material (2) from a cavity (3) of an additively assembled component (10) .

Description:
Description

Apparatus for additive manufacturing and use of the apparatus The present invention relates to an apparatus for additively manufacturing and a corresponding use of the apparatus.

The term "additive" shall particularly denote a layer-wise, generative and/or bottom-up manufacturing process. The addi- tive manufacturing as described herein preferably relates to powder-bed manufacturing methods .

Powder bed manufacturing techniques such as selective laser melting (SLM) , electron beam melting (EBM) or selective laser sintering (SLS) are relatively well known methods for fabri ¬ cating, prototyping or manufacturing parts or components from a bed of e.g. a powdery or granular base material. Conven ¬ tional apparatuses or setups for such methods usually com ¬ prise a build platform on which the component is built layer- by-layer after the feeding of a layer of the base material which may then be melted, e.g. by the energy of a laser or electron beam and subsequently solidified. The layer thick ¬ ness is determined by the operation of a wiper that moves, e.g. automatically, over the powder bed and removes excess material. Typical layer thicknesses amount to 20 ym or 40 ym. During the manufacture, said beam scans over the surface and melts the base material in selected areas which may be prede ¬ termined by a CAD-file according to the geometry of the com ¬ ponent to be manufactured.

A method of additive manufacturing is known from EP 2 910 362 Al, for example.

A particular challenge concerns internal surfaces or complex, convoluted or intricate passageways or cavities, such as cooling channels of additively manufactured components, wherein base material remaining or trapped in the respective spaces is required to be removed, e.g. after the manufacture. Depending on the complexity of the inner geometry, the removal of excess base material from an inside of the component poses significant drawbacks to the manufacturing, particular- ly, as additively formed complex geometries are often full of powder and the respective components may be heavy and the passages or openings may be narrow.

Particularly when the excess powder cannot be removed suffi- ciently after the additive manufacture of the component, a poor quality or functionality of the component results, e.g. as said material may block the passages, especially when a further heat treatment is carried out. Currently, powder may be removed from internal spaces of an additively manufactured component in that small or thin tools are used or vacuum cleaners in order to remove the powder. If the respective component is fairly heavy, e.g. an operator of the additive manufacturing machine may need to use the hands and physically turn the part and/or shake it in order to get the powder out. However, these trials often result in poor removal results.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide means by which an improved additively manufactured component can be provided. Particularly, by means of corresponding technical means, a solution is provided for removing (excess) powder e.g. remaining from an additive manufacture from an internal passageway of the component.

The mentioned object is achieved by the subject-matters of the independent claims. Advantageous embodiments are subject- matter of the dependent claims. An aspect of the present invention relates to an apparatus for additive manufacturing, particularly the additive manufacture of the component, comprising a platform, further comprising a fixing means, such as a fastener, for fixing the component to the platform, wherein the platform is configured to vary an orientation of the component (fixed to the plat ¬ form) and/or platform over or around an angle of at least 360° according to at least one spatial direction.

An orientation or variation of the orientation may relate to a rotational axis, such as a predefined rotational axis or spatial direction. The component is preferably an additively manufactured or ad ¬ ditively manufacturable component. The term "component" may be used synonymously with an additively manufactured struc ¬ ture for said component. The apparatus further comprises an actuation means for me ¬ chanically actuating the platform at a predefined frequency or frequency range .

The platform may relate to a table or base plate of the appa- ratus to which the component is expediently fixable by the fixing means .

The apparatus allows for an efficient removal of excess base material or powder from internal cavities of complex compo- nents as described above.

The platform is further configured to vary an orientation of the component or structure thereof over an angle of at least 360° according to two, preferably linearly independent or or- thogonal, spatial directions. This allows advantageously for a versatile application of the apparatus, wherein, when the apparatus and/or the platform is adjusted to the right orien ¬ tation, e.g. in space, a powdery base material being trapped anyhow in the component may be expediently removed from the corresponding cavity.

In an embodiment, the apparatus is shaker or shaking table. In an embodiment, the apparatus and/or the actuation means is configured to allow for an actuation of fairly heavy addi- tively manufactured components, e.g. components weighing sev ¬ eral tens of kilograms.

In an embodiment, the apparatus is configured such that, by the mechanical actuation of the platform, powdery base mate ¬ rial contained in an, e.g. intricate or convoluted cavity of the component, may be removed from or shaken out of said cav- ity.

In an embodiment the actuation means is driven by air pres ¬ sure. This may advantageously allow for a powerful and/or fast or frequent actuation performance necessary for the de- scribed removal.

In an embodiment the actuation means is driven by piezoelec ¬ tric and/or electromechanical means, e.g. comprising an un ¬ balanced motor. These means may be applied alternatively or in addition to the mentioned air pressure driven actuation in order to further enhance the performance of the apparatus for the described purposes.

In an embodiment, the vibration means comprises a first vi- bration generator being configured for actuating the structure and/or the base material at a first frequency or fre ¬ quency range .

In an embodiment, the vibration means comprises a second vi- bration generator being configured for actuating the structure and/or the base material at a second frequency or fre ¬ quency range .

In an embodiment the first frequency and the second frequency are different.

In an embodiment the first vibration generator and the second vibration generator are different. In an embodiment, the first vibration generator and the se ¬ cond vibration generator are independently controlled or con ¬ trollable .

In an embodiment, the first frequency is chosen from a first frequency range. Thus, advantageously, an actuation or agita ¬ tion in the first frequency range may be achieved for the in ¬ tended powder removal .

In an embodiment, the second frequency is chosen from a se ¬ cond frequency range. Thus, advantageously, an actuation or agitation in the second frequency range may be achieved. In an embodiment, the first frequency range and the second frequency range are disjunct. This is an expedient embodi ¬ ment, as - in this way - a broad frequency spectrum may be covered for an expedient, efficient or versatile removal of excess base material.

In an embodiment, the first vibration generator is a low- frequency, e.g. high impact or momentum, generator. According to this embodiment, the actuation means may be configured for the actuation of particularly heavy structure or components, for the actuation of which a higher momentum and/or power is required. Accordingly, the actuation means may be tailored for the actuation at larger amplitudes for example. This may be required for example when the additively manufactured part or component is heavy, internal spaces or cavities are quite bulky and/or a large amount of powder has to be shaken out of the cavity.

In an embodiment, the second vibration generator is a high- frequency, e.g. high impact or momentum, generator. According to this embodiment, the actuation means may be configured for the actuation of e.g. lighter components, for the actuation of which predominantly the frequency is crucial and only lit ¬ tle momentum or power is necessary. Accordingly, the actua- tion means may be tailored for the actuation at high frequencies and small amplitudes only. This may be required for ex ¬ ample when the additively manufactured component is rather small and also the internal spaces from which the powder has to be removed are small and possibly intricate or labyrin ¬ thine .

In an embodiment, the fixing means and/or the apparatus com ¬ prises a damping mechanism which - though allowing the vibra- tion of the component - is configured to prevent any or an undue or excessive transfer of vibration from the structure and/or the component to the fixing means and/or the actuation means . In an embodiment, the apparatus is configured movable. Par ¬ ticularly, the apparatus may comprise rollers, by means of which mobility of the apparatus may be achieved. Said rollers may be provided with individual breaks, e.g. for each roller a separate break, such that a safe operation of the apparatus may be achieved. Said rollers and/or brakes may be provided at a rack of the apparatus, for example.

In an embodiment, the apparatus comprises a rack, preferably a rack at which the actuation means and the platform are pro- vided. The rack may be or comprise a frame which may be de ¬ signed to allow for stabilizing and/or orienting the component via the platform at various expedient spatial orienta ¬ tions or angles. E.g. the rack may comprise elongated levers in order to turn and shake even heavy and big parts for the described purposes.

The apparatus further comprises a blocking mechanism being configured such that, during a variation of the orientation of the platform, the platform is, e.g. stepwise, engageable. Said engagement may be realized via a snap means or snap fea ¬ tures, e.g. a spring biased snap feature, for a reliable blocking of the platform. A further aspect of the present invention relates to a use of the apparatus for removing of a, preferably powdery, base ma ¬ terial from a cavity of an additively manufactured component. Said removal preferably relates to shaking out of the base material which may be an excess base material in the additive manufacture of the component, of or from the cavity.

The mentioned use or process of removing the base material from said cavity may comprise varying the orientation of the component such that the base material trickles of the cavity, e.g. driven by gravitational forces. Thereby, the component may repeatedly turned or rotated back and forth such that any base material can escape from the cavity and overcome the ob ¬ stacles of the internal passageways.

Advantages relating to the described method, use and/or the component may as well pertain to the apparatus and vice ver ¬ sa . Further features, expediencies and advantageous refinements become apparent from the following description of the exemplary embodiment in connection with the Figures.

Figure 1 shows a schematic side view of an apparatus accord- ing to the present invention.

Figure 2 shows a schematic sectional view of a setup indi ¬ cating a use of the apparatus of Figure 1. Like elements, elements of the same kind and identically act ¬ ing elements may be provided with the same reference numerals in the Figures.

Figure 1 shows an apparatus 100. The apparatus 100 may be shaker or shaking table. The apparatus 100 preferably relates to a tool or add-on for the additive manufacture of a compo ¬ nent 10 or structure, preferably by powder-bed based- techniques. In Figure 1, a component 10 is particularly fixed to the apparatus 100.

The component 10 is preferably a component for an application in flow path hardware of turbo machines, such as gas turbine. The component 10 is preferably manufactured from superalloys, such as nickel or cobalt-based superalloys for gas turbines.

For fixing the component 10, the apparatus 100 comprises a platform 130 in turn comprising a fixing means 110. The fixing means 110 may be or comprise a fastener such as the bench vice, for fixing the component 10, preferably after the structure 1 has been additively assembled or manufactured. The platform 130 may be or comprise a rotary table onto which the component 10 and/or structure 1 may be mounted, expedi ¬ ently by means of the described fixing means 110.

The fixing means 110 may comprise at least two clamps as in- dicated in the Figures. Also, the fixing means 110 may com ¬ prise any expedient fixation features known to a skilled per ¬ son, such as a clutch, grippers, an arbor or mandrel, screws, bolts, a caliper, or any other means suitable for fixing the component, preferably according to a plurality of different spatial orientations.

Further, the apparatus 100 comprises an actuation means 120, such as vibration or oscillatory means. The actuation means 120 is preferably configured such that a structure or part of the component and/or the component 10 itself may be mechani ¬ cally actuated, e.g. to a periodic actuation, such as a vi ¬ bration or oscillation, at a predefined frequency range. Said frequency range preferably encompasses a first frequency Fl or first frequency range and a second frequency F2 or second frequency range.

The actuation means 120 may be driven by air pressure or com ¬ parable means. Additionally or alternatively, the actuation means may be driven by piezoelectrically and/or electrome- chanically, comprising the respective technical facilities known to a skilled person. Figure 1 shows the apparatus 100 according to an orientation OR of the component 10.

The platform 130 is preferably configured such that the com ¬ ponent - mounted to it - may be rotated around an axis Y (vertical axis in Figure 1) . Additionally, the platform 130 is preferably configured such that the component 10 may as well be rotated or turned around an axis X (horizontal axis) . Thus, the structure 1 and/or the component 10 may be rotated around two linearly independent axes of movement or rotation, preferably over and an angle of 360° each. Accordingly, in theory, any excess base material may be removed from or shak ¬ en out of a cavity of the component, when the structure is shaken consecutively according to a plurality of different spatial orientations by the actuation means 110.

The fixing means 110 expediently effects a fixation of the component 10 on or at e.g. the actuation means 120 and/or the apparatus 100. Therefore, the platform 130 may be provided with an angled suspension (not explicitly indicated) . By a said suspension, the platform 130 is preferably also rotata- ble around the spatial direction or axis X. Thus, the compo ¬ nent 10 may be oriented upside down or according to any per ¬ ceivable spatial orientation. The platform 130, as described, may further be adjustable by an electric or electromechanical drive, for example.

The cavity 3 of the component 10 as shown in Figure 1, is particularly shown at least partly filled with a base materi- al 2, preferably of a powdery and/or granular structure. The component 10 has preferably been manufactured out of that base material 2, wherein the base material remaining in the cavity may be an excess base material, preferably remaining from the manufacture, as may be usual in the additive fabri ¬ cation of components by means of powder bed methods.

The actuation means 120 is expediently provisioned for an ac- tuation of or agitation of the platform 130 at a predefined frequency of frequency range, particularly for an effective removal of the base material, after the component has been manufactured. The removal of a powder or powdery base materi ¬ al from complex inner cavities of additively manufactured components poses a significant challenge, as access powder remaining or trapped in the said cavities may - in the case of turbine components - adversely affect or even completely impede functionality, such as cooling, in the as-manufactured component .

Although this is not explicitly indicated in the Figures, the presented inventive method may comprise the application and/or adjustment of any expedient or reasonable frequency or frequency range (cf . above) . Said frequency may e.g. be known or easy to determine by experimentation of a skilled person.

Particularly, the applied frequencies are preferably chosen by an operator of the apparatus 100 - possibly depending on a particle fraction, the type of base material and the dimen- sions of the component. The shaking frequency or actuation of the component 10 for powder removal may extend over a large frequency range .

During the actuation, an orientation of the component - as mentioned above - is preferably varied such that excess mate ¬ rial or any base material remaining in the cavity, can effi ¬ ciently be removed, from convoluted or intricate regions of the cavity (for the sake of simplification, the cavity 3 is only depicted with a simple geometry) .

Although this is not explicitly shown in Figure 1, the cavity 3 expediently comprises an opening (cf. numeral 5 in Figure 2) which is preferably necessary for the functionality of the cavity 3 of the component 10 as well as for the described powder removal .

In case that the described opening 5 of the cavity is not al- ready facing upwards such that the base material is trapped inside, the apparatus 100 may need to be readjusted or changed in its orientation (cf. orientation OR' in Figure 2) the platform 130 turned or rotated such that the opening 5 is directed downwards, for example.

Further, the apparatus 100 may comprise a blocking mechanism. The blocking mechanism may comprise blocking features as indicated by 136 in Figure 1. The blocking mechanism is preferably configured such that, during a variation of the orienta- tion (cf. Figure 2 below) and/or during actuation, the platform 130 is, e.g. stepwise engageable, e.g. via the blocking features 136. The blocking mechanism 136 is preferably in ¬ tended for a reliable blocking of the platform 133 for safety reasons. The blocking mechanism and/of the blocking features may comprise a snap functionality or, e.g. be spring-biased, snap feature, for a releasable blocking of the platform, e.g. with respect to further components of the apparatus 100.

The actuation means 120, as described above preferably com- prises a first vibration generator VG1 being configured for actuating the component 10 and/or the base material 2 at the first frequency Fl . The first vibration generator VG1 may al ¬ low for an actuation and/or vibration of the component for large amplitudes and/or momentums and preferably low frequen- cies, which may particularly be expedient for the removal of powder from heavy parts, e.g. weighing several tens of kilo ¬ grams .

The actuation means 120 preferably further comprises a second vibration generator VG2 which is preferably separate and independently controllable from the first vibration generator. The second vibration generator is further configured for actuating the component 10 at the second frequency F2. The se- cond vibration generator VG2 may particularly allow for a removal of any remaining base material in the cavity 5 and for high frequencies and preferably smaller amplitudes, momentums or impacts, e.g. possibly necessary for lighter smaller com- ponents.

Although this is not explicitly indicated, the apparatus 100 and/or the fixing means 110 may comprise a damping mechanism which is preferably configured to allow vibration of the com- ponent 10, however preventing excessive or adverse transfer of vibrations from the component to the fixing means 110 and/or the actuation means 110.

Further, it is shown in Figure 1 that the apparatus 100 com- prises a rack 132. The rack 132 may comprise a frame, e.g. from steel in order to provide for a stabilizing base e.g. for further components of the apparatus 100. The fixing means 110 are provided in an upper part of the rack 132. For any turn or changed orientation of the component, mounted to the platform 130, a user of the apparatus 100 and/or an operator may manipulate an adjustment wheel or handle 131.

For any axis of rotation (cf. X and Y) , a separate handle may be provisioned (not indicated) . Said handle (s) may be con ¬ nected or coupled to the platform 130 via a worm gear, for example .

The apparatus 100 is preferably configured movable. Accord- ingly, the apparatus 100 may comprise rollers 133. The roll ¬ ers 133 may be mounted to the rack 132, as described above. A number of four rollers 133 may e.g. be provisioned. Said rollers 133 may be provided with brakes 135, e.g. such that each of the rollers 133 may individually be blocked for safe- ty reasons.

The apparatus 100 further comprises a cleaning means 134, such as a cleaning means driven by pressurized air, for exam- pie. Said cleaning means may comprise a hose and/or nozzle or any other expedient features for a thorough removal of base material 2 e.g. from the surfaces of the component 10. Figure 2 indicates schematically and in form of a partial im ¬ age of a setup of the platform 130 and the component 10 fixed to it that the component 10 has been turned or rotated (cf. arrow B) by an angle of e.g. 90° in a clockwise sense, i.e. from the orientation OR to the indicated orientation OR' .

The component 10 may comprise a base section 11. Accordingly, the component 10 is preferably an at least partly hollow com ¬ ponent of a gas turbine, such as a turbine airfoil, vane or blade, which is preferably to be additively manufactured with an internal cavity. Said cavity may serve as a cooling chan ¬ nel for an efficient cooling of the component e.g. during an operation of the turbine. An internal space, or cavity is again denoted by numeral 3 indicating exemplarily e.g. the mentioned cooling channels.

The base section may be a root section of the turbine blade.

The component 10 further comprises an opening 5 by means of which an outside of the component 10 may communicate with the cavity 3. Through the opening 5, the base material 2 may ex ¬ pediently be removed from the cavity 3. To this effect, the orientation OR' allows the base material 2 to trickle out of the cavity 3 as indicated by arrow C. This is because the cavity is shaped such that - according to the mentioned ori- entation - the base material 2 may no longer trapped inside the cavity.

For an efficient removal of the base material 2, the present invention may comprise superposing the mentioned first fre- quency Fl and the mentioned second frequency F2 and/or the respective frequency ranges. The first frequency or frequency range Fl may comprise fre ¬ quencies from several kHz to e.g. 1 Hz.

Preferably, the second frequency F2 is lower than the first frequency Fl, such that the base material 2 may efficiently be removed from the cavity 3. It may be provisioned, that within the actuation of the component 10, preferably relative to the base material 2, at the second frequency F2, the whole setup and/or the structure 1 is only actuated very slowly, but preferably with a fairly large amplitude or momentum from one position to another.

The second frequency F2 or frequency range may span frequen ¬ cies from 1 Hz to several mHz (miliHertz) , for example.

Preferably, the presented use of the apparatus 100 allows for a complete removal of the base material from the cavity as shown in Figure 2 such that said cavity is preferably free of excess powder or base material and the advantages or proper- ties of the respective cavities or internal spaces can be ex ¬ ploited in the readily manufactured component.

The scope of protection of the invention is not limited to the examples given hereinabove. The invention is embodied in each novel characteristic and each combination of characteristics, which particularly includes every combination of any features which are stated in the claims, even if this feature or this combination of features is not explicitly stated in the claims or in the examples.