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MELD Revolutionizes Metal Additive Manufacturing

Kollmorgen Delivers Power and Precision

Challenges

MELD Manufacturing produces high-quality, fully dense materials and parts with little-to-no residual stresses. It uses a solid-state process to manufacture and repair parts in which material does not reach melting temperature during processing. This requires no secondary processing, such as hot isostatic pressing or sintering, and lower energy consumption compared to conventional technology. More traditional additive manufacturing processes are often impeded by enclosed spaces, environmental requirements, limited materials, and the expense of waste versus usable material.

From the beginning, it was clear to the MELD team that their technology could revolutionize the manufacturing industry. However, they needed a motion control solution with a built-in G code interpreter, a language that defines how a machine makes motion using numerical control (NC). By partnering with Kollmorgen, the MELD team built on the prototype user-defined function blocks (UDFBs) code supplied by Kollmorgen.

“The existing Kollmorgen platform already had linear and circular interpolation motion function blocks,” explained Carroll Wontrop, Senior Systems Engineer at Kollmorgen. “The prototype G code interpreter became the nucleus to create a fuller featured interpreter needed for the machine’s X and Y motion while supporting and synchronizing additional Z-axis and A-axis motion.”

Solution

The engineers at Kollmorgen and MELD worked together to create an integrated solution that addressed the need for precise motion control as well as how the machine uses that control. To address the motion control element, the teams incorporated Kollmorgen AKM servo motors and EC actuators powered by AKD servo drives. The second part of the solution involved implementing Kollmorgen Automation Suite (KAS) machine control software that included application templates and facilitated the coordination and communication with the other machine controls. Kollmorgen was able to provide two options - remote PC connection and SD cards - to import the G-code file. It was this combination of products that provided the precision and power needed to optimize the MELD technology.

“Working with KAS only took a matter of weeks rather than months to learn and operate,” said Fred Lalande, MELD Manufacturing Automation Engineer. “KAS was a great starter because of the machine control application templates that exist in the software. As a new user, it has all the building blocks to put things together and then you can begin thinking about the details. In the world of multi-axis controls versus drives to turn a motor, things can get complicated, but Kollmorgen Automation Suite’s ease of use helped us accelerate our project to completion.”

Results

By partnering with Kollmorgen, MELD Manufacturing is able to provide a solution that gets machinists up and running in a matter of hours. “Kollmorgen’s products and expertise around automation and the interface made a huge difference because this could have been made very complicated, and instead it’s something that you can step up, master and operate in very short order,” said Nanci Hardwick, MELD Manufacturing CEO. “In my experience, having good people who care about our customer’s success is extremely valuable, and with Kollmorgen, that level of care comes through. Kollmorgen’s expertise enabled us to modify what we needed for our application, and that was vital to its success.”

With its innovative solid-state processing, MELD Manufacturing has captured the attention of the manufacturing world. For Hardwick, there is no doubt that MELD customers are pleased with the results she and her company deliver.

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Overview

MELD Manufacturing and Kollmorgen created a custom, co-engineered motion control solution that gets machinists up and running in hours versus days.

Featured Products

AKM servo motors
EC actuators
AKD servo drives
Kollmorgen Automation Suite

“Kollmorgen’s products and expertise around automation and the interface made a huge difference because this could have been made very complicated, and instead it’s something that you can step up, master and operate in very short order.” - Nanci Hardwick, MELD Manufacturing CEO

About Kollmorgen

Kollmorgen has more than 100 years of motion experience, proven in the industry’s highest-performing, most reliable motors, drives, linear actuators, gearheads, AGV control solutions and automation platforms. We deliver breakthrough solutions that are unmatched in performance, reliability and ease of use, giving machine builders an irrefutable marketplace advantage.