Fincantieri Australia, the Australian division of Fincantieri S.p.A.– one of the world’s largest shipbuilding groups, has signed a material science testing (MST) agreement with Melbourne-based metal additive manufacturing company Titomic to support sovereign industrial capability and Australia’s continuous naval shipbuilding plans.
Credit: Fincantieri Australia
This MST agreement follows the ASX announcement on 14 May of Titomic’s Memorandum of Understanding with Fincantieri as the first step in the defined roadmap to evaluate the potential for the Company’s additive manufacturing process, Titomic Kinetic Fusion, to be used in Fincantieri’s manufacturing activities.
Jointly developed by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, and Force Industries, the Titomic Kinetic Fusion process takes cold spray technology, but uses it to 3D print parts from titanium alloys.
The process involves spraying titanium powder in a chamber, where gas is heated up that accelerates the titanium particles through a nozzle and out of a spray gun. That spray gun is controlled by a robotic arm to spray in precise patterns, and when particles “hit” each other on the surface, they become bonded at a mechanical level through a process of plastic deformation. Titomic announced the launch of the world’s ‘largest’ metal 3D metal printer back in May, and the bus-sized 3D printer is capable of printing large titanium components – from golf clubs to complex aircraft wing parts. It can also print metal bike frames in around 25 minutes.
The MST agreement will see Titomic perform a series of tests on a Fincantieri specified alloy, in accordance with International Standards of ASTM to achieve desired mechanical and chemical properties. The testing capabilities will include hardness, strength, porosity and chemistry analysis.
The outcome of the tests will provide Fincantieri with valuable technical information on material properties, performance, strength, durability and cost efficiencies of Titomic Kinetic Fusion technology. This analysis takes into account Australian capabilities for manufacturing processes as well as component redesign to enhance material characteristics with the new process.
“We will be producing test samples at our new state of the art facility in Melbourne in order to conduct the stringent tests required,” said Jeff Lang, CTO of Titomic. “This is the first step towards manufacturing large marine parts on our metal 3D printers of limitless scale.”
As part of the MOU, members of Titomic’s technology and operational team have also recently completed a visit to Riva Trigoso Shipyard in Italy, to have an in-depth understanding of Fincantieri mechanical components which are designed, developed and manufactured on-site as the first phase of marine technology transfer to Australia.
Dario Deste, Chairman of Fincantieri Australia said, “The activities between Fincantieri and Titomic evaluate the benefits of applying the proprietary Titomic Kinetic Fusion technology to manufacture mechanical components for Naval and Merchant Ships. With over 100 ships on order around the world, Fincantieri has the size and strength to bring new technology to market.”