Additive Manufacturing in Hydraulics:
it will be the future also in this sector ?
3D hydraulic valve block printed in stainless steel - made by Aidro Hydraulics
3D printing or Additive Manufacturing (AM) is the new technology which makes possible to produce the “impossible” things!
Today the AM technique is rising in special fields (as medical, luxury goods, art, entertainment…), but more and more it is becoming appreciated by the Industry such as aerospace, car racing, oil&gas, shipbuilding,…these are advanced applications, while hydraulics is a traditional technology. Therefore, can the hydraulic sector take profit from the 3D printing or it is just a dream?
At aidro we say YES, it can!
We are talking about special cases, not to large standard production volumes, of course!
Hydraulics will gain from the use of 3D printing in particularly in the production of small numbers and to meet the specific needs of customers.
With this in mind, we believe that the AM main advantages in Hydraulics are the following:
• give the green light to many technical ideas remained unrealized due to the traditional manufacturing features
• savings in weight, space and material
• innovate the design and create shapes with less geometries’ limits
• fast prototyping and the possibility to have different prototypes for the same project
• short production time (few hours)
• choice between different metals: stainless steel (from AISI 304 to 316L), aluminium, titanium,… and new materials under development
• higher performance and elimination of potential leakage (no plugs needed)
• strong customization
In order to take advantage of the AM benefits and to exploit the expertise based on a large experience, aidro is developing metal 3D printed valves and blocks. The results are amazing! Our traditional design approach has revolutionized and we produced the first prototype in a few hours.
Take a look at this!
It is a 3D hydraulic valve block printed in stainless steel for controlling a single-acting cylinder. This is an example of how to re-design a traditional hydraulic block with a different and innovative design approach: put the valves in which it is necessary and connect the valves as desired. The internal channels of the valve block are optimized to a better flow and space savings, while the potential for leakage is removed because auxiliary drilling are no longer necessary.
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