KSB Group company SISTO Armaturen S.A., based in Echternach, Luxembourg, is the first valve manufacturer to supply series-produced additively manufactured (3D-printed) diaphragm valves made of a special alloyed material for one of Germany's largest pharmaceutical companies.
These days, modern substance manufacturing facilities are planned and constructed in such a way that they can be used for the most diverse of products. Accordingly, the components installed have to be made of a very high-quality nickel-based alloy, e.g. alloy 2.4605. This also applies to the highly complex multiway diaphragm valve units that can often be found in such plants. Conventionally, valve bodies are machined from solid forged material. In this case, the manufacturer relies on suitable forging bars being available, which may cause long delivery times, particularly for special materials.
Reduced lead times
Shorter delivery times can be realised with powder bed fusion. But this is only one of the benefits of valves manufactured using this method. It also enables geometries with undercuts, such as integrated cooling channels, which would not or hardly be possible using a milling process. Body parts made by additive manufacturing have further got a higher material homogeneity. Also, components designed for 3D printing are significantly lighter than conventionally manufactured components.
The suitability of additively manufactured materials has been tested and documented by the Luxembourg-based valve manufacturer in cooperation with the German TÜV. Additively manufactured diaphragm valves meet all standards governing their application. For example the requirements of the European Pressure Equipment Directive (PED) 2014/68/EU. KSB SE & Co. KGaA, the parent company of SISTO Armaturen S.A., draws on more than ten years of experience in metal 3D printing and operates a technology centre for additive manufacturing at its Pegnitz site.