IMI Critical Engineering has further enhanced its additive manufacturing capacity with the installation of a new 3D printing machine at its South Korea facility.
The premises, based in Paju City, Gyeonggi Province, took delivery of an SLM280 PS printer in December 2022 to expand its capacity to include the production of 3D-printed parts. The printer, which was integrated into production in February 2023, following an internal qualification process, is now used to manufacture control valve components such as IMI Critical Engineering’s own patented DRAG® technology disk stack and seat baskets.
“When using conventional subtractive manufacturing methods to produce disk stacks, the process involves machining disks from sheet raw materials, resulting in an extensive amount of material wastage due to the manufacturing process,” explains Chungduk Suh, APAC President at IMI Critical Engineering. “Expanding into 3D printing was a logical next step for us, as we continuously seek to improve the efficiency and sustainability of our facilities. By utilising metal powder in the printing process, we have optimised our material use and significantly reduced scrap waste, resulting in increased manufacturing productivity.
“This new process will reduce lead times by two weeks or more, and we are keen to pass the benefits associated with faster delivery onto our customers. The fact that the 3D printing process cuts out several steps required by traditional manufacturing will help us maintain a competitive edge.”
The expansion of its in-house 3D capabilities will also enable IMI Critical Engineering Korea to offer additional, advanced engineering solutions available to both local and overseas markets. Specifically, the printer will enhance the benefits of the existing Retrofit3D solution, and allow operators to respond quickly with custom engineered solutions designed around customers’ operating conditions.
Mr Suh concludes: “With the installation of this new 3D printer, the team will be looking to increase both the diversity and volume of parts produced at our Korea facility and provide a local, reactive, and efficient engineering resource to our customer base in the APAC region and beyond.”
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