Manufacturing technology developer AML3D (ASX: AL3) has revealed a collaboration with fellow South Australian-based company QPE Advanced Machining with both companies to manufacture metal parts for local and international markets.
AML3D announced the collaboration while exhibiting at this year’s Land Forces event in Brisbane, which showcases equipment, technology and services for Australia’s army and those of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Under the collaboration, AML3D and QPE will combine their expertise in metal 3D printing and precision machining – enabling them to deliver simple and complex projects requiring a fast lead time with superior material properties.
“We are pleased to have the opportunity to deliver our part contract manufacturing solutions with the support of precision machinists such as QPE,” AML3D chief executive officer Andrew Sales said.
“Industry collaborations provide the ability to increase Australia’s manufacturing self-sufficiency, creating a sustainable manufacturing industry for the future.”
Mr Sales added that QPE will assist AML3D in delivering a range of parts that exceed customer expectations.
According to AML3D, this collaborative approach is especially relevant to manufacturing programs requiring prototyping, small-to-large run part manufacture, replacements, and upgrades commonly seen in the defence supply chain and other critical industries such as medical and aerospace.
AML3D brings to the collaboration its patent-pending wire additive manufacturing (WAM) 3D printing technology.
This enables clients to have customised-designed parts 3D printed, which was not previously achievable through traditional casting of subtractive techniques.
It enables hollow inserts to be made, structural filling patterns and many other “design innovations”.
AML3D noted most 3D parts require further finishing to complete the manufacturing process and achieve the final form and function.
This is where QPE’s capabilities are required and CNC milling expertise.
Commenting on the agreement, QPE chief executive officer Grant Tinney said the company was “excited” to collaborate with AML3D and explore applications across many industry sectors – particularly, defence.
“Our strength in precision machining and fabrication, coupled with AML3D’s expertise in wire additive manufacturing makes this the ideal partnership.”
“We are very confident we are future-proofing our whole industry, moving faster and decreasing reliance on overseas suppliers,” Mr Tinney added.
The project journey will start with AML3D’s engineering team. The team gathers initial product information and client-specific requirements and standards.
In the next stage, the part is optimised for the WAM process using Design for Additive Manufacturing and AML3D’s proprietary software WAMSoft and AMLSoft.
The project is then allocated to an ARCEMY Production Cell and the metal 3D printed using WAM technology.
Following completion of printing, the product is tested to ensure it meets all client standards and industry compulsory metallurgical specifications.
Once the part is successfully printed, it is outsourced to QPE for surface finishing.
QPE’s in-house engineers can review the CAD draft and program one its CNC milling machines to “best-accommodate” the product’s shape and size requirements.
After this stage has been completed, the part is polished and carefully inspected for critical precision against the original draft and requirements.
If the part then meets all requirements, it is ready to be shipped to the client.