HVAC & Refrigeration: Additive Manufacturing Capabilities
Additive manufacturing is found everywhere today, from small engines and aerospace to HVAC and refrigeration. This is primarily due to AMs ability to create lightweight, complex parts with a high amount of design freedom.
Here are four ways additive manufacturing shines when it comes to HVAC & refrigeration, including:
- Part Consolidation
- Low Volume Production
- Supply Chain/Labor Shortages
Additive Manufacturing with HVAC & Refrigeration
Freedom of design and the ability to consolidate existing part assemblies made from multiple pieces into a single part are two of the most commonly mentioned advantages of additive manufacturing. With AM, bracketry you would normally weld can now be printed into one, consolidated part, oftentimes with higher performance.
The U.S. Department of Energy harnessed the lightweighting capabilities of AM when designing a prototype heat exchanger that’s 20% lighter and 20% more efficient than heat exchangers currently in use.
Using 3D printing technology, the heat exchanger included 200 micrometer thin walls that were still able to withstand a lot of pressure. Not only is the heat exchanger lighter and more efficient, the continuous printing process eliminates seams, preventing leaks.
Additive manufacturing makes printing one-off and customized parts quicker and much more cost-efficient than traditional machining methods. This is beneficial when needing to repair a part or testing a new prototype.
Supply Chain/Labor Shortages
Global supply chain issues wreak havoc on production – the good news is the filament and metal feedstock used for additive manufacturing are readily available. Using AM, you can bypass the wait for your supplier and quickly make the parts you need on demand.
For the Future
Additive manufacturing is proving to be a cost-effective tool for manufacturing complex, lightweight HVAC & refrigeration parts. To learn more about additive manufacturing, visit our blog.