On the occasion of the APS Meetings, to be held on 20 and 21 March in Lyon, France, Nexteam Group and Prodways Group are announcing the installation of the first industrial machine based on Rapid Additive Forging (RAF) Technology for large titanium components, on the Nexteam Group’s Toulouse site.
INSTALLATION OF FIRST INDUSTRIAL MACHINE ON NEXTEAM GROUP’S PREMISES
With its two years of R&D, Prodways Group’s procedural expertise and machine-related know-how have convinced Nexteam Group, which specialises in the manufacture of hard-metal aerospace components and subsets, to invest in RAF technology. Nexteam Group will be the first aerospace subcontractor to acquire this new technology.
Raphaël Gorgé, Chief Executive Officer of Prodways Group, explains: “Nexteam Group’s investments marks a major step forward in the development of Rapid Additive Forging technology. By joining together with Nexteam Group, which will provide its know‐how in the services of machining and fine-tuning, we are convinced that this new manufacturing procedure should be applied on an industrial scale compatible with the technical requirements of major actors in the aerospace and space markets. ”
This investment will allow Nexteam Group to produce titanium components rapidly for its clients. For Frédéric Gentilin, Vice-Chairman of Nexteam Group: “This project is strategic, and has given the Group a real advantage in the competition. We are the first in France to be equipped with this technology. Specifically, we will be reducing our production cycles and widening our range of products. Our industry’s need to make economic savings and improve its logistical performance does not detract from the quality-related requirement with which our Group is associated.” In fact, although RAF technology is known for its speed of deployment, it also allows titanium components to be manufactured in series and very close to the geometry of the final component. This makes the procedure economical, as only the final machining process will be required. “With this new machine we will also save on material. We gain further with this procedure because with the classic techniques we were losing up to 95% of material! ” says Bruno Pierrel, Nexteam Group R&D Manager.
The machine will be formally accepted in April at Gentilin, the Group’s establishment in Launaguet (31), to offer the aerospace market a comprehensive service in the manufacture of components, ending with the machining stage. During 2018 and 2019, a qualification phase under real conditions will determine whether the process is repeatable and whether series can be produced from mid-2019 onwards. “We will therefore be able, in less than 18 months, to offer our clients titanium components with increased mechanical resistance compared with 3D stamping techniques, for new-generation aircraft. ” – Frédéric Gentilin
The aerospace and space market is for Prodways Group a priority market, in which it already enjoys a good position, including ten major actors in the field amongst its clients. This partnership will allow Prodways Group to provide its clients with a remarkable offer to help them reach the quality and productivity standards required by those active in the aerospace and space industry and thus realise the group’s burning ambition in this sector.
INNOVATIVE AND HIGH-PERFORMANCE TECHNOLOGY FOR LARGE TITANIUM COMPONENTS
Prodways Group’s Rapid Additive Forging (RAF) technology, which is the fruit of several years’ R&D allows 3D stamping of large metallic components for production applications. The technology was developed in collaboration with Commercy Robotique, a subsidiary of Groupe Gorgé.
This technology uses a head that deposits molten metal in an atmosphere of inert gas. The metal is thus applied layer after layer and thus produces a large component in just a few hours. The metallurgical analyses conducted over the last twelve months demonstrate that the process has been mastered, as there is no porosity, the component is homogeneous in every direction, and the productivity is vastly superior to the usual 3D metal stamping techniques which use powder sintering applied by laser or electron beam. This machine allows components to be produced within a production envelope of 1200 x 800 x 500 mm. The equipment is particularly suitable for production of titanium components, as the inertia process is completely controlled and the stamping system used is the subject of a patent application. It is designed for the production of serial components, especially in aerospace. Several aircraft and vehicle manufacturers have already ordered components, confirming the relevance of this technology.
The stakes for the industry are significant:
- A reduction of over 80% in loss of material, compared with machining techniques.
- The absence of tools and their associated one-off costs (moulds etc), compared with drilling techniques.
- Manufacturing times are reduced in all circumstances.
Other areas of application have expressed their interest in RAF technology, for refilling of components or additions of functions, to steel, Inconel and aluminium alloys in particular. This first industrial machine, based on the innovative RAF technology, opens the door to a whole new range of machines within Prodways Group.
ABOUT NEXTEAM GROUP
A key actor in the field of precision mechanics, Nexteam Group was created in 2015, following the merger of the family businesses Asquini (47), Gentilin (31), Sofop (12) and MP Sud (64). The Group, whose registered office is based in Marmande (47), is a major actor in the world of aerospace and a first-ranking supplier to the major order issuers. Its areas of work concentrate on design, manufacture and support of structural and flight equipment in aeroplanes and helicopters.
- Client references: Airbus, Safran, Stelia, UTAS and others.
- 900 employees
- 2017 turnover: €150 million
- 8 sites in Europe: Bordeaux (33), Launaguet (31), Marignane (13), Marmande (47), Oloron (64), Rodez (12), Lublin (Poland), Bucharest (Romania)
More information on www.nexteam-group.com
ABOUT PRODWAYS GROUP
PRODWAYS GROUP specialises in industrial and professional 3D stamping, and enjoys the unique position of being an integrated European actor. The group has developed on the whole of the 3D stamping chain (software, printers, materials, components and services), and provides an industrial solution with very high added technological value. PRODWAYS GROUP offers a wide range of 3D stamping systems and premium composite, hybrid or powder materials (Systems Division). The company also manufactures components made to specific requests, prototypes and small 3D-stamped plastic and metal series (Products Division). The group works for a large number of sectors in the aerospace and health industries.
In 2017, the company realised a turnover of €34.8 million, about 40% of which was from international sources.
Thanks to the MOVINGLight® proprietary technology, Prodways Group has now become known worldwide in the 3D industrial stamping sector, most notably to top-ranking clients.
Prodways Group is a Groupe Gorgé company.
For more information, go to www.prodways‐group.com
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