Additive Manufacturing Helps Texas Plant Cut Lead Time By Nearly 70%

Renishaw has supplied four RenAM 500Q metal additive manufacturing machines to Knust-Godwin, a precision machining company located in Katy, Texas. The high-productivity machine, designed for serialized industrial manufacturing, has enabled Knust-Godwin to drastically reduce lead times for its customers.

Knust-Godwin has been in business for over 50 years, having a long history of machining large, complex parts for oilfield instrumentation. The company first introduced additive manufacturing as a new technology to help improve the efficiency and productivity of tools in the oil and gas industry.

The company recently chose to expand its additive manufacturing (AM) capacity to handle serial production, purchasing four RenAM 500Q machines.

AM technology brings a number of benefits to the oil and gas industry. For example, it can produce components for down hole measurement while drilling and logging while drilling, which offer more efficient flow. This increases efficiency of tool rates and leads to longer tool life.

The company is also benefitting from less waste, shorter lead times and fewer post processing steps -- products that typically took six to twelve steps to complete can now be completed in two.

"Additive manufacturing started as a prototyping technology, but it is now moving into serialized production," explained Mike Corliss, VP of Technology at Knust-Godwin. "Because we are designing components specifically for AM, we have been able to reduce customers' lead times. A project which previously required a 24 month wait from concept to commercialization can now be reduced to eight months. The cyclical nature of the oil and gas industry means that providing parts quickly is extremely important.

"Knust-Godwin has not only benefitted from the huge productivity gains of the machines, but also from tremendous support from Renishaw," continued Corliss. "We see AM playing a large role in our company's future and we are expecting to see a 40 per cent compound growth year on year in the oil and gas industry and 20 per cent compound growth in aerospace. We are even looking at purchasing additional RenAM 500Q machines for different metal alloys."

RenAM 500Q is Renishaw's multi-laser AM system. It features four high-power 500 W lasers, each able to access the whole powder bed surface simultaneously. RenAM 500Q achieves significantly higher build rates, vastly improving productivity and lowering cost per part. The four lasers increase productivity by up to four times, with no compromise on quality.

The RenAM 500Q features automated powder and waste handling systems that enable consistent process quality, reduce operator intervention time and ensure high standards of system safety.

"The RenAM 500Q offers productivity and efficiency gains over traditional single laser machines," added Robin Weston, Marketing Manager of Renishaw Additive Manufacturing. "The benefits offered by AM means that more and more industries are turning to the technology as a way of producing high-quality, efficient parts."

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