3D printed steel tools can cut titanium alloys

High strength cutting tools can now be 3D printed, potentially saving time and money for aerospace and Defence manufacturers.
RMIT University PhD candidate Jimmy Toton received the 2019 Young Defence Innovator Award and $15,000 prize at the Avalon International Airshow for the research, which was conducted with Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) and industry partner Sutton Tools.
Because the metals used in Defence and aerospace are so strong, making high quality tools to cut them is a major, and expensive, challenge.
This collaborative project conducted at RMIT’s Advanced Manufacturing Precinct is the first convincing demonstration of 3D printed steel tools that can cut titanium alloys as well as, or in some cases better than, conventional steel tools.
“Now that we’ve shown what’s possible, the full potential of 3D printing can start being applied to this industry, where it could improve productivity and tool life while reducing cost,” said Toton.
The team’s high-performance steel milling cutters were made using Laser Metal Deposition technology, which works by feeding metal powder into a laser beam. As the laser moves and the metal solidifies at the trailing edge, a 3D object is built layer by layer.
This additive manufacturing process also allows for objects to be built with complex internal and external structures.
Toton overcame significant challenges in getting the layers to ‘print’ to form strong, crack-free parts as he took this from initial concept through to development.
He is now working towards establishing a print-to-order capability for Australia’s advanced manufacturing supply chains.
“Manufacturers need to take full advantage of these new opportunities to become or remain competitive, especially in cases where manufacturing costs are high,” said Toton.
“There is real opportunity now to be leading with this technology.”
DMTC chief executive officer, Dr Mark Hodge, said the importance of productivity and cost-efficiency to Australian manufacturers should not be underestimated.
“Supply chain innovations and advances like improved tooling capability all add up to meeting performance benchmarks and positioning Australian companies to win work in local and global supply chains,” he said.
“The costs of drills, milling cutters and other tooling over the life of major Defence equipment contracts can run into the tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars. This project opens the way to making these high-performing tools cheaper and faster, here in Australia.”
RMIT’s Advanced Manufacturing Precinct director and Toton’s supervisor, Professor Milan Brandt, said the work was a clear demonstration of the technology’s potential.
“Additive technology is rising globally and Jimmy’s project highlights a market where it can be applied to precisely because of the benefits that this technology offers over conventional manufacturing methods,” said Brandt.

Ground improvement works complete for new Steelforce warehouse at Port of Brisbane

Design and construction geotechnical specialist Menard Oceania has announced completion of major ground improvement works on behalf of its client, FKG.
With ground improvement works completed ahead of schedule, the Brisbane site, once built, will be a new warehouse for Steelforce, a major distributor of steel products in Australia.
The 25,000m² warehouse project, located in Port West – a rapidly developing industrial estate at the Port of Brisbane – required detailed ground improvement works, as it had been previously subjected to varying levels of surcharging to provide for a 20Kpa loading condition.
Geotechnical conditions encountered on site included a variable profile which was comprised of dense sand, soft to firm Holocene alluvium, and stiff Pleistocene alluvium.
“We established to site in early July 2018 to perform the design and construction of the ground improvement works on behalf of Port of Brisbane Limited (PBPL) and the main contractor FKG Group. Although the site had been previously surcharged, the project loading requirements increased in capacity to meet the needs of Steelforce, which required the entire ground improvement / slab package to be redesigned. We are delighted that Menard’s expertise was considered by the client for the successful and timely delivery of the early foundation works package,” Geoffrey Holding, Northern Region Manager for Menard Oceania said.

Konecranes extends new technology and steel leadership

Konecranes is introducing valuable knowledge, new technology and expertise to the steel industry through its support of the Australian Steel Convention, agreeing to be a major sponsor of the event for the next three years.

At this year’s convention, held in Double Bay NSW from September 15-17, Konecranes introduced to the Australian market its new UNITON crane, which is particularly applicable to the steel industry and related uses such as materials handling, manufacturing and maintenance. UNITON is an excellent all-around crane with good fundamentals and performance. It provides the duty class, hoisting speeds and trolley traversing speeds the steel industry needs and full compliance with all safety requirements.

“Supporting this innovative convention gives us the opportunity to contribute our expertise to valuable discussions on the future of the steel industry in Australia,” says Konecranes Managing Director, Australia, New Zealand and Philippines, Mr James Dowe, who spoke at the convention. “I enjoyed sharing knowledge on safety and efficiency in the steel industry to those who it’s most relevant to,” said Mr Dowe, whose company employs over 12,000 people across 600 locations in 48 countries and is the world’s leading crane service organisation.

Mr Dowe will also personally be attending Konecranes’ booth at the convention, along with Key Account Manager for Steel, Mr Daniel McCarney and National Industrial Equipment Sales Manager, Mr Peter Monaghan in order to answer any questions about Konecranes technologies or the steel industry in general.

“Konecranes has a number of cranes and related technologies specifically designed for the steel industry. Technological advances, stricter standards and the rugged nature of the steel industry have led Konecranes to develop even safer and more advanced solutions that also increase the efficiency and productivity of their steel customers,” said Mr Dowe.

“Konecranes is at the forefront of automation and smart features for cranes that include Sway Control, Target Positioning, Shock Load Control, Safety Zoning and Regenerative Drive Systems. All these features are designed to integrate our equipment with customers’ overall handling systems.  The simple objective is to increase productivity, reduce manpower and improve energy saving and environmental targets,” he said.

“We always strive to be at the cutting edge of steel industry advances in safety, efficiency and productivity. I’d encourage anyone who’s interested in cranes for the steel industry to come and have a chat about some of the exciting new technologies that are out there,” he said.

QME 2014 Preview: ​Cyclone proof reinforced concrete

Helix Steel
Australasia will display their revolutionary
reinforced concrete on stand F229, as first-time exhibitors, at the 2014 Queensland Mining & Engineering (QME) Exhibition.

After entering the Australian market only four years ago,
mining companies such as Rio Tinto, Anglo Coal, APLNG, Newcrest Limited, KBL
Mining Limited and Peabody Energy have already adopted the Helix Micro-Rebar

Unlike traditional reinforced
concrete, Helix Micro-Rebar is based on a structural composite material that
combines concrete and reinforcement into one system instead of two.

This means Helix Micro-Rebar
is tougher, more durable and has a greater flexural capacity.

It outperforms all other
reinforcement systems such as mesh, rebar, and steel, polypropylene and
fiberglass fibres.

Additionally, this product
requires less than five minutes to mix and by eliminating the requirement for
rebar, the construction time of jobs such as concrete slabs is greatly reduced.

Helix Micro-Rebar meets the efficiency, productivity and
cost-saving requirements of the Queensland mining sector, as a concrete
solution that is easily applied, more robust, safer and more cost-effective
than traditional rebar and mesh.

Mining companies have reported up to an 80 per cent saving in
their reinforcement costs and a 50 per cent reduction in scheduled time as a
result of using Helix Micro Rebar for concrete work projects.

Helix is also currently being used in the construction of
‘storm resistant’ or ‘tornado proof’ housing across America.

Designed to also emulate
structural rebar steel, Helix Micro-Rebar is an excellent alternative to
reinforced concrete and is a viable replacement for structural supports such as
columns, piers, beams and structural wall panels.

This ensures Helix Micro-Rebar
is your concrete and reinforcement solution for all industrial, mining and
infrastructure applications.

​Bradken to close manufacturing facilities, cut jobs

Bradken has announced it will be shutting down its “highest
cost manufacturing facilities” and cutting its workforce.

It follows the manufacturer’s announcement of a “reorganisation
of its manufacturing” in an aim to reduce the company’s operating costs by $27
million annually.

“Bradken intends to progressively close a number of its
highest cost manufacturing facilities and reduce associated costs and by
transferring work,” it said in a company statement.

It went on to state “the reorganisation is expected to see
Bradken’s total employee numbers reduced to 4700, down 10% from December 2013
and 25% down from the peak in September 2012”.

In August last year it cut more than a 1000 jobs globally, from its workforce at the time 5425, cutting its Australian contingent by 14%.

Bradken last week announced it is closing its Henderson
foundry in Perth and relocating the work to its Runcorn foundry in Brisbane and
Xuzhou foundry in China.

As a result of these reorganisations there will be a large
one-off charge of approximately $51.4 million before tax, which related mainly
to retrenchment costs, plant and equipment write-offs, and site closure costs.

Bradken was contact for comment but was unavailable at the
time of publishing.


Port Hedland breaks iron ore export records, again

Port Hedland has posted another record month of iron exports to China, with 25.2 million tonnes of the steel making ingredient that sailed away easily beating the previous record highs of 23 million tonnes set in both May and June this year.

Shipments to China rose by 10 per cent as miners move to optimise efficiencies and increase production to take advantage of a stable iron ore price.

Iron ore production capacity expansions from the port's major users, BHP Billiton, and in particular, Fortescue Metals Group is behind the increased export volumes.

October's result comes on the back a productive year for one of the world’s largest iron ore terminals, with record levels set in April, May and June.

The port’s general manager said exports are not showing any signs of slowing down.

"We're expecting further targets, uptrends for the next year and we're forecasting about 320 million tonnes of port throughput for the 2013/ 2014 financial year,” John Finch said.

"We're still fielding a lot of enquiry for demand. Not only have we got the large iron ore players BHP and FMG in the port at the moment, but we've got Hancock Prospecting and the North-West Infrastructure Group planning their new developments for the next few years ahead as well,” Finch said.

The continuing price strength of iron ore comes as the slowing demand from China usually seen at this time of the year has failed to come into play.

"China has been restocking after record levels of iron ore imports over the past few months," Deutsche Bank strategist Xiao Fu said.

"We expect the pace of restocking could slow. However, we are still below the 2011-12 (inventory) peaks, which suggests that the restocking cycle could last for another two or three months.                                                                

Port Kembla profits up

Port Kembla Port Corporation have turned a profit despite a drop in steelmaking at BlueScope.

The port corporation’s annual report shows it made a profit of $19.5 million, up from $17 million the previous year, the Illawarra Mercury reported.

Corporation chief executive Dom Figliomeni said diversifying had ensured the port stayed viable.

He said the effect of the BlueScope reductions only been felt for "eight or nine months" of the financial year.

"We've got quite a big mix of trade and BlueScope is not really a significant revenue-earner.

"The cars are our main revenue-earner so that's a big focus for us," he said.

The cars port terminal was introduced at the Port Kembla site in 2008 and made up more than half of the value of trade through the port.

Figliomeni said the terminal was an example of how the corporation was moving away from its reliance of BlueScope and grain for revenue.

"It's important to make sure you diversify your revenue base to make sure you don't rely totally on one commodity."

Image: stephenjones.org.au

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