Cincinnati-based Vertex Manufacturing has purchased a second end-to-end additive manufacturing (AM) solution from VELO3D. In this instance, the system is dedicated to the superalloy Hastelloy-X. Vertex noted it will be the first contract manufacturer to own a VELO3D system that processes this high-performance material. The company recently acquired a VELO3D solution for Inconel 718 alloy. The AS9100-certified shop is set to produce AM parts for aerospace and the oil, gas, and energy sectors.
Vertex was created by Morris Technologies to help customers needing advanced manufacturing solutions for both development and production programs. Staffed by experts with decades of experience in materials, methods, and quality, Vertex offers a range of services in addition to additive manufacturing (AM), including advanced multi-axis CNC machining, rapid castings, and final inspection of manufactured parts.
The Hastelloy-X Superalloy
The Hastelloy-X is a superalloy – or high-performance alloy – with the ability to operate at a high fraction of its melting point. Several key characteristics of a superalloy include excellent mechanical strength, resistance to thermal creep deformation, good surface stability, and resistance to corrosion or oxidation.
Hastelloy-X is not a heat-hardened material, so it doesn’t become brittle at high temperatures, and its high oxidation resistance provides durability over many years of continuous use. “3D-printed Hast-X provides unique, robust, material qualities,” said Tim Warden, Vertex vice president, in a statement. “Combining this with the fact that Vertex is AS9100 certified it will allow us to help our customers take programs from development to production much quicker.”
A Fit for New Applications
The decision to purchase a Sapphire Hastelloy-X of their own was a forward-looking one for Vertex. “We chose VELO3D because we view this system as being a great fit for several applications that we couldn't build today with our current additive machines, said Warden. "While our Inconel 718 Sapphire machine will fit the needs of many industries, there’s more of a niche market for the incoming Hast-X machine that will allow our customers with specialized needs for high-temperature, high-pressure, long-lifetime applications in the aerospace, and industrial gas turbine markets."
The Vertex move to acquiring additional AM equipment coincides with a major growth spurt in 3D printing for production. The pandemic broke open new markets for 3D printing as supply chains were disrupted and new forms of production were able to fill the gap.
Vertex plans to acquire more AM equipment after the Hastelloy-X installation. Steve Rengers, president of Vertex, describes his company’s partnership with VELO3D as an evolving one. “We’re interested in VELO3D because we see them as a leader of innovation among advanced LPBF systems,” he said in a statement. “VELO3D’s technology – the non-contact recoater, and the ability to do challenging geometries without supports – is a differentiator. That’s what Vertex is all about as well, so it’s a great collaborative relationship we’re looking to expand upon.”
Rob Spiegel has covered manufacturing for 19 years, 17 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include automation, supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cybersecurity. For 10 years, he was the owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.