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[Clan News] 2016 Lightweight ThinKing Innovation Award
- 2019-06-11-

Award-winning company: Rosswag

Award-winning technology and products: a combination of forging and selective laser melting

Rosswag, from the Pfinztal region of Baden-Württemberg, Germany, combines forging technology with selective laser melting (SLM).  In the case where the assembly requires little complexity and a fairly high strength volume, the company uses conformal free die forging.  Complex areas of the product are added through additive manufacturing.  In this way, Rosswag takes advantage of these two processing methods to achieve solid parts processing with complex internal structures, saving resources and increasing cost efficiency.

Hybrid manufacturing method can process solid parts with complex structures

As a case study, Rosswag added blade geometry to the base of the turbine wheel - including internal passages for boundary layer control.  In this way, Rosswag takes advantage of these two processing methods to achieve the production of solid parts with complex internal structures, saving resources while increasing cost efficiency.

“The combination of forging and selective laser melting creates a new product. Thanks to the innovative process chain, even if the product is highly complex, it can be effectively produced,” said Dr. Donis, general manager of the company.  “The aim is to optimize the process chain to increase the efficiency of the production of certain components.” This is done by combining the advantages of the two manufacturing methods in each geometric element.

Rosswag hopes to further expand production

The basic idea is to produce a solid part area during the open die forging process, which occupies most of the material volume.  The metal stock material has a high load carrying capacity and is forged along the fiber direction.  Subsequently, after the CNC machining of the joining surfaces, additive manufacturing is carried out in the SLM® system to complete the complex structure.  This was the first time in the case study.  Thanks to additive manufacturing technology, the newly developed and optimized process chain also enables new design freedoms in complex geometries and internal structures.  The metal powder required for this purpose can even be produced internally by the forged chips produced, making the mixing production more resource efficient.

Due to this hybrid manufacturing technology, Rosswag was awarded the 2016 German Resource Efficiency Award.

The family-owned company Rosswag GmbH, with more than 100 years of history, is a free die forging company in southern Germany with more than 200 employees.  The company's production workshop is in full swing.  Next to large furnaces and presses, each professional team of three employees handles forgings weighing up to 4.5 tons.  But the company does not want to rely entirely on this expertise.  Dr. Donis said: “For a medium-sized company like us, which technology can replace us is a crucial issue.” The company decided to extend this millennial technology to 3D printing.

Since 2014, the SLM® 280HL has been added to the additive manufacturing facility to produce near-net shape metal parts in addition to forging operations.  "This step through additive manufacturing, on the one hand, the company's product portfolio is expanding, on the other hand, the impact of the replacement of forged parts will be reduced in the long run," the general manager explained.

Through selective laser melting, Rosswag makes metal parts, prototypes, tools or small batches directly from 3D CAD files.  Mold-free parts combine complex geometries with special material properties.  In this case, stable mass production quality and quality management are very important for Rosswag.  One in five employees is concerned about quality assurance.  The company has been certified several times.  A large technical supervision association even has its own office in the company premises.

From metal powder production to quality assurance process chain

Resource efficiency is also an important issue.  Rosswag plans to produce individual, process-optimized metal powders, metal powders from forged residues and the company's own 6,000-ton material warehouse, with more than 400 different materials in the warehouse.  Rosswag's goal is to further expand the field of additive manufacturing and engineering services.  Rosswag not only serves as a service provider, but also as a design and development partner with an integrated internal production chain to support its customers.

Technical project manager Graf stressed: "In this way, the company can provide a unique process chain, from high-quality metal powder production, to additive manufacturing, specific heat treatment, CNC machining, mechanical properties and process performance of internal materials laboratory. Test until comprehensive quality assurance.  

The hybrid manufacturing technology developed by Rosswag won the 2016 Young Quantitative ThinKing Innovation of the Year Award.

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