Firm celebrates new 3-D printer capable of making nuclear power station parts
- Credit: Brafe Engineering
An engineering firm is celebrating the arrival of a sophisticated new 3-D printer which is so accurate it can make components for nuclear power stations and submarines.
Woodbridge-based Brafe Engineering is set to use its hi-tech sand-printing machine to create specialist moulds into which it will pour molten metal to make the parts.
The £10m company, which employs 95 staff, had to clear and repurpose a whole room at its headquarters to accommodate its new kit, which it said represented "a significant investment".
Head of machining Chris Pritchard said the printer would cut the time it takes them to create a mould, which will mean less waiting time for customers to get their vital parts.
“All the components are designed by the customer and printed with fine silica sand with a very high melting point," he said.
“The 3D printer is very much like an inkjet printer – it applies layers of sand until the mould is created.
He added: “In the competitive markets we supply parts to, time is of the essence.”
- 1 How it unfolded, as Town pick up a 2-1 victory at Forest Green
- 2 Field fire breaks out in 27 acres of land in east Suffolk
- 3 Plans for 19 homes in Suffolk village refused
- 4 How the Ipswich Town players performed in their victory at Forest Green
- 5 Ipswich Witches ring the changes.... two riders out, two riders in
- 6 Customers in for 'real treat' when pub reopens after two years
- 7 Firefighters tackle 40-acre field fire near Ipswich
- 8 A day of firsts and the area Town simply must improve as they head to Forest Green
- 9 Forest Green Rovers 1-2 Ipswich Town: Super Blues win on the road
- 10 Driver arrested after being four times over the limit following crash
The huge, hi-tech machine was delivered several weeks ago. Engineers at Brafe have been putting the new kit through its paces, creating a host of intricate models and sculptures.
It is currently running training sessions for employees across the business to help them understand what the machine is capable of.
Managing director Adam Dalby said: “At Brafe, we are always looking to see what the next leap in technology will be.
“Innovation is key to a company like Brafe, and we are committed to pushing the industry forwards.
“The new 3D printer will dramatically reduce the time it takes to make even the most complex of moulds, meaning we can deliver products to our clients even quicker.
“It has been great to see the 3D printer in action and it will be fascinating seeing what this piece of technology can do.”
Brafe is an Employee Ownership Trust.