Siemens’ 3D breakthrough offers potential boost to asset life
13 Mar 2017
Siemens is claiming a breakthrough with the production of the first 3D-printed part to operate in a nuclear power plant.
The company designed and manufactured a water pump impeller using additive manufacturing and 3D printing for Slovenia's Krsko nuclear power plant.
It has been claimed that rolling out the technology could save plants time and expense when they need to replace equipment when the manufacturer is no longer in operation or parts are hard to obtain. The technology also has the potential to allow mature plants to continue operating or extend their full life expectancy.
At Krsko the replacement part was a metallic, 108mm diameter impeller for a fire protection pump in constant rotating operation. The manufacturer of the original impeller had ceased business.
Better than expected performance gave us confidence that we can reach the full life expectancy from our asset
Vinko Planinc, head of maintenance, Krsko nuclear power plant
Siemens’ team of experts in Slovenia reverse-engineered and created a digital twin of the part. The company's additive manufacturing (AM) facility in Finspang, Sweden, then applied its advanced AM process using a 3D printer to produce the part
Tim Holt, CEO of Siemens Power Generation Services division commented: “This achievement at the Krsko nuclear power plant is another example of how the digital transformation and the data-driven capabilities we have are impacting the energy industry in ways that really matter. Additive manufacturing [has] reduced lead times and faster production optimises parts replacement and creates real value for our customers.”
Krsko is a key provided in the former Yugoslav area of the Balkans and provides more than 25% of Slovenia's and 15% of Croatia’s power, making it vitally important to the region.
Krsko site head of maintenance Vinko Planinc added: “The better than expected performance of this 3D-printed part gave us confidence that we can reach the full life expectancy from our asset.”