DMG Mori—a UK-based global machine tool manufacturer—and Schaeffler Technologies, a Germany-based manufacturer of roller bearings for aerospace, automotive and industrial applications, have embarked on an additive manufacturing (AM) co-operation project.
The project sees the companies testing metallic functionally graded materials (FGMs)1 to advance the development of additively manufactured roller bearing2 components. Its objective is the realization of optimized products that afford added value for end-customers.
Since May 2017, Schaeffler Technologies has been using DMG Mori’s LASERTEC 65 3D hybrid machine to produce one-offs and small batches of roller bearing components in FGMs. The machine combines DMG Mori’s laser deposition welding AM process and 5-axis subtractive milling. It features a twin powder feed that allows for the smooth changeover from deposition of one material to another. Furthermore, the hardness and toughness of materials can be regulated during the build and tailored to specific application requirements.
Schaeffler Technologies has been active in Formula E3 for many years and believes there are exciting opportunities for material gradation in the development of electric drives. For example, magnetic and non-magnetic materials can be combined in a component and their properties adjusted as required.
Patrick Diederich, managing director of SAUER and responsible for advanced technologies at DMG Mori, said: ‘We are very pleased that Schaeffler has decided on a LASERTEC 65 3D hybrid. Our strong partnership brings about a fascinating synergy in the production of additively manufactured components. Schaeffler was awarded the accolade of overall winner in DMG Mori’s Partner Award 2017.’
1A functionally graded material (FGM) is a composite material that is produced by varying microstructure gradually over volume from one material to the other using a specific gradient, thus enabling it to retain the desired properties of both materials. FGM materials are often designed for specific functions and applications.
2A roller bearing is a bearing that carries a load by placing rolling elements between two bearing rings called races. The relative motion of the races causes the rolling elements to roll, presenting very little rolling resistance and sliding.
3Formula E, officially the FIA Formula E Championship, is a class of auto racing that uses only electric-powered cars.