Near-Net Shape Technologies

Part sizes can range from less than 100 grams to several thousand pounds. Our unique process can incorporate a re-usable mold that ensures geometric accuracy and 100% density at savings in excess of 25%.

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Summit Materials combined world-renown powder metallurgy knowledge and extensive expertise in advanced computational methods to develop the patented Shaped Hot Isostatic Pressed Process (SHIP2) to provide customers with near-net shaped components that reduce costs and development times while simultaneously increasing quality and reliability.

 

Cost savings result from the near-elimination of wasted raw material and their associated machining costs.

Development time improvements stem from eliminating the need to wait for a forging house to get around to your project.

Quality improvements include tighter data groupings (higher design allowables) and improved non-destructive inspectability.

We have extensive experience working with titanium, nickel-based, and shape memory alloy systems in a variety of industries including aerospace, motorsports, sporting goods, oil and gas exploration and drilling, and nuclear power generation. Part sizes can range from less than 100 grams to several thousand pounds.

Another key advantage of SHIP2 is the ability to incorporate non-machinable features such as internal passages and drastic cut backs – thus allowing design engineers the freedom to create optimal designs without worrying about manufacturing limitations. Design changes during production that were once prohibitive due to the expense of altering a forging die can now be done on the fly for very little cost or time. SHIP2 is well suited for both small and large-scale production volume components.

We offer casting tolerances with forging properties at cost savings in excess of 25%.

Production Impact

The resulting fine grain microstructure provided by Summit’s process is optimized for property performance while allowing the maximum level of component non-destructive inspection. We never forget the focus of our Materials 101 class – microstructure drives properties – no matter how long ago we had it!
  • Buy-to-fly ratios dramatically reduced from their typical 15:1 to 1.5:1 or smaller.
  • Selective critical areas can be formed to net-shape to eliminate costly machining in difficult areas.
  • Data scatter is reduced, effectively increasing the design allowable for a given material.

Our unique process incorporates a re-usable mold that ensures geometric accuracy and 100% density. This re-usable mold concept is what sets us apart from the competition. It means that the costly steps of creating the complex hard tooling and then destructively removing it after HIP don’t occur.

There are two major problems with that hard tooling approach. The first issue is that the mold, by necessity, must be as complex as your component – so you still need to machine all the complicated features for each and every part. The second issue is that the mold becomes metallurgically bonded to the component, so mold removal becomes a costly and time consuming step as it is either machined away, or an environmentally unfriendly chemically etchant is used.

As seen in the following figure, we leverage numerical methods to design the mold to ensure that the resulting component geometry is the final geometry.

Summit's SHIP2 near-net shape technology

The following table lists several production issues common in today’s manufacturing world along with what those issues mean to the bottom line as well as how SHIP2 relieves these issues.

Manufacturing Issues

Economical Impacts

SHIP2 Benefits

Large upset forgings are fully machined to final geometry for many aerospace components. Often over 85% of the input material goes the entire way through the forging process only to end up as machining chips on the floor. This wastes enormous amounts of energy, raw material, and machine time. The ratio of input to output material under SHIP2 is approximately 1.5:1. Other than the obvious cost savings, this leads to time and environmental benefits as well.
Excessive machining coolant is used during the entire machining process – this wastes water, energy and poses a waste stream disposal issue as well as occupational health concerns. Minimal machining naturally leads to a minimal usage of coolant and the associated negative impacts it has on costs and the environment.
The time required to forge and machine a component often exceeds two-years. This means that new, more efficient designs are rarely implemented due to cost and schedule constraints. Summit’s process shortens manufacturing cycles to about 3-months and allows for on-the-fly design changes to guarantee implementation of design improvements over the life cycle of a given component.
Enormous quantities of machining chips are generated during conventional processing. Several environmentally and economically wasteful steps must be done in order to recycle machining chips. They need to be gathered, sorted, packaged, shipped, cleaned, repackaged, shipped to a primary melter, sorted, charged, and finally remelted. SHIP2 significantly reduces the amount of machining chips generated. This results in very substantial energy and raw material savings and leads to a much more clean process.
Often, each component must start with a forged preform. Large amounts of energy are consumed during the hot forging process necessary to create the machining blanks. SHIP2 doesn’t require any forging steps and doesn’t add any equivalent energy demanding step in its place.
Due to the large number of steps, components must undergo a substantial number of packaging and shipping expenses. Packaging and shipping the components between each manufacturing step has a non-trivial impact on the environment and cost of the final component. Summit’s process greatly reduces the number of supply chain touch points by removing the forging step and several of the machining steps, thus leading to improved economics.
Additive manufacturing approaches are limited in component size, production rate, alloy content, and resultant surface finish. While this approach certainly has merit in certain circumstances, there are many limitations that render it unusable or uneconomical for a wide variety of applications and materials. Summit’s process can be used on extremely large components, even those composed of so-called unweldable alloys, such as many of the nickel-base superalloys. The production rate, inspectability, and surface finish are also vastly superior to the additive approaches.

We put up a small near-net shape movie showing powder densification in an axisymmetric component to show you our SHIP2 numerical model in action.

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