Russian and French nuclear power companies discussed new business opportunities in additive technologies at a seminar in Moscow this week. The event was coordinated by Rusatom — Additive Technologies (RusAT), which was formed in February by Russian nuclear fuel manufacturer TVEL to manage the development of additive manufacturing technologies at Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom.
When announcing its launch, TVEL said RusAT will focus on four key areas: manufacturing of 3D printers and their components; production of materials and metal powders for 3D printing; software development for additive systems and services; and rendering 3D printing services and introduction of additive manufacturing technologies at industrial enterprises. Rosatom said in July last year it planned to develop an additive technologies business, creating industrial 3D printers that print in metal, and developing nuclear batteries.
Participants in the seminar this week visited Tsniitmash, a subsidiary of Rosatom’s engineering unit AEM-Technology that develops steel and welding materials. Companies attending the event included: Airbus, EDF, Safran, ESI Group, Dassault Systèmes, 3DCERAM, AddUp, Volum-e and Air Liquide.
Alexey Dub, general director of RusAT, acquainted the French visitors with the operating equipment, product samples, research organisation and business strategy for the development of additive technologies in the nuclear industry.
They were shown the installation of printing with two metal powders, which is significant for the manufacture of turbines where traditional welding techniques may be problematic, Rosatom said. RusAT is therefore working on technology to separate metal powders, enabling the formation of printed layers of different metals.
Vladimir Beregovsky, director of the Institute of Surface Technology and Nanomaterials at Tsniitmash, presented high-vacuum research equipment, including NanoARCmaster — «a high-tech vacuum-plasma installation for applying a wide range of protective coatings on machine parts and cutting tools using ion deposition with arc evaporation», Rosatom said. The protective coatings obtained from such installations make it possible to increase the service life of a tool by up to eight times, it added.
Svetlana Shchurenkova, head of the design and engineering department of RusAT, described Rosatom’s line of 3D printers, including those using selective laser melting. Work is under way, she said, to create electron-beam printers, as well as installations using direct metal deposition.
Rosatom also announced it plans to open four industry engineering centres focused on additive technologies, which will provide services, conduct research and development, work on
new materials for 3D printing and organise training programmes.
The companies at the seminar have agreed to explore opportunities for cooperation in research and in commercial projects.