Additive Manufacturing Processes for Rolling Bearing Components

Schaeffler and DMG Mori have cooperated closely in a long-term and successful partnership. Schaeffler already uses generative manufacturing with plastic 3D printers and the powder bed technology for prototype construction, small series production and tool and fixtures construction. In their latest cooperation project, the partners are developing additive manufacturing processes for rolling bearing components made of graded materials in small batch sizes using laser deposition welding. The Lasertec 65 3D hybrid from DMG Mori has served here as the mechanical basis since May 2017.

In their latest cooperation project, DMG Mori and Schaeffler are developing additive manufacturing processes for rolling bearing components made of graded materials in small batch sizes using laser deposition welding. (Source: DMG Mori)

Meanwhile, Schaeffler has expanded its own in-house area of additive manufacturing to include the powder bed process for the first time with the Lasertec 65 3D hybrid from DMG Mori, which it uses for the production of components made of metallic materials. The high build-up rate and high degree of flexibility of materials were aspects that significantly influenced the decision. In addition integrated 5-axis simultaneous machining enables the production of components in finished part quality in a single setup, a feature in which Schaeffer sees potential for serial production.

The Lasertec 65 3D hybrid is equipped with two powder feeders and enables targeted control of the changeover from one material to another during laser deposition welding. This results in graded materials with a smooth transition between the different material properties. The toughness and hardness of the material can be regulated in the build-up process and optimally aligned to the specific requirements of the individual application.

The partners are testing suitable materials in the cooperation project, with the aim of advancing the development of additively manufactured rolling bearing components in small batch sizes using laser deposition welding. “We are very pleased that Schaeffler has decided on a Lasertec 65 3D hybrid. This strong partnership brings about fascinating synergy effects in the production of additively manufactured components“, explains Patrick Diederich, responsible for Advanced Technologies at DMG Mori and Managing Director of Sauer GmbH.

Schaeffler has also been active in the FIA Formula E for many years and is working flat out on further improvements for electric drives within the framework of its strategy “Mobility for Tomorrow”. The use of material gradation here on the Lasertec 65 3D hybrid results in exciting opportunities for development. Magnetic and non-magnetic materials could, for example, be combined through gradation and the properties adjusted to the component as required.

The Franconians have expanded their capacities in additive manufacturing processes to include laser deposition welding. The Lasertec 65 3D hybrid will also be integrated in the production process in order to optimise the production of spare parts, small series and single parts. Immediate production of such parts allows the speedy provision of spare parts while at the same time eliminating storage costs for large workpieces. (Source: DMG Mori)

Links: Schaeffler AG, Herzogenaurach, GermanyDMG MORI Global Headquarter, Tokyo, Japan

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