Functional 3D Printed Turbine Model for Siemens

Brian Crotty | October 5, 2016 | 4 min read

Making an impact at trade events and in customer presentations is increasingly difficult as the number of venders, media hype and advertising grows each year. When Siemens was looking for a novel way to present their new SGT-8000H series turbine they called upon their partnership with 3YOURMIND. The engine performs at an efficiency of 60.75% (TUV certified) in combination with the combined cycle operation. That makes it one of the most efficient gas-fired power plants in the world. The complex turbine combines proven product lines with innovative technologies, rendered with high-detail as a 3D model.

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The primary model is motorized in addition to two standard 3D printed versions of the turbine. The turbine is made of Aluminide, the casing is Polyamide - both were printed using the SLS additive manufacturing technique. The movement and detail of the final model are both an “eye-catcher” and direct aid to describe the physical processes within the turbine.

A Developing Partnership between Siemens and 3YOURMIND

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The relationship between Siemens and 3YOURMIND has existed since 2013 as one of the first customers of 3YOURMIND’s consulting services. The Görlitz power generation and industrial turbine production center was the first to understand the potential partnership. Siemens recognized that 3YOURMIND provides a unique entry point into modern additive manufacturing techniques. In 2014, the companies expanded their partnership with an integration for Siemens Solid Edge PLM system. Both in-house designers from Siemens and customers of SolidEdge world-wide have a direct access point to optimize and order 3D Models.

The Evolution of the Model

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The motorized Siemens SGT-8000H series Turbine is the result of 2.5 years of iterating presentation concepts between the two companies. Their initial project together was a simple historical motor that was 3D Printed for Siemens as part of a historical exhibition. The design was simple and the 3D print was done in a single material.

The following year, 3YOURMIND and Siemens worked with a contemporary turbine design. The model was printed in different materials to visually separate the casing, the supports and the turbine itself. The level of detail was also increased by selecting to print with an aluminide as opposed to standard plastic. For Siemens, this was an important step to highlighting the new design elements that increased the efficiency of that years design. Since then, 3YOURMIND has produced 5 different models representing the last several years of product improvements from the Siemens Görlitz location.

Because the SGT-8000H series turbine represented such a large efficiency gain, Siemens wanted to ensure that the display method was elevated to reflect that status shift. When 3YOURMIND suggested a motorized model it was clear that this solution offered a perfect method to display the concept. The motion in the model catches the attention of passing visitors. And by illustrating the movement it allows the presenter to explain the developments that enabled that shift.


We rely on 3YOURMIND to provide models that become the public face of our new turbine designs. The quality of their CAD team and the intricate detail of the final models continues to impress our team, our vendors and our customers.

Bianca Keil, Energy Sector Marktkommunikation, Information, Siemens AG


An Efficient Process


Their experience working together over years allowed the project to be completed cost effectively and under a tight deadline.

The model was provided to the 3YOURMIND modeling team just five weeks prior to the first live presentation of the turbine. While the initial turbine was developed in Solid Edge and could be uploaded directly to the 3YOURMIND platform, adapting and scaling the parts for 3D Printing is still often a manual process.

It relies on:

  • Removing small details (screws) to reduce “noise” on the final print
  • Combining design components into single parts
  • Slicing the external casing for display purposes
  • Properly scaling the model
  • Adjusting wall thickness for the print material
  • Adding the motor and bearings into the design
  • Masking trade secrets

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The process is both a cosmetic and functional exercise for the 3YOURMIND CAD design department. Determining the design components to be simplified, which elements to mask as trade secrets and managing the review process involved a direct and constant contact with the Siemens project manager. In addition to both a motorized and static version of the model, Siemens requested two other sizes of the model for different display scenarios.

Despite the challenges, the familiarity between the two firms developed over years of working together ensured that the project was timely delivered. The final model matched the innovation of the new turbine design with a model that has a level of detail and complexity that would have cost at least 10x the current price to produce just a few years ago.

A Shifting Landscape for Production

Currently Siemens is leveraging advances in additive manufacturing as a unique presentation technique for their technological developments, in-house, at trade fairs and to potential customers. But more importantly, they are familiarizing themselves with the workflows and thought processes that will allow them to shift more of their production as it becomes more cost effective for larger parts and volumes.

As 3D Printing technology matures and the supporting processes develop for value-add production, these complex and functional 3D parts will become a standard part of production.

 

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