Visit at Zenith Tecnica Limited [Auckland – New Zealand]
On my way to the SME Rapid conference and exhibition in Long Beach (CA) I stopped over in New Zealand. My first stop was at Zenith Tecnica Limited a company in Auckland. Martyn Newby, General Manager at Zenith took, the time to show me the operation. Zenith is operating Electron Beam Melting systems from the Swedish manufacturer Arcam AB . Electro Beam Melting offers advantages in process speed and productivity compared to laser based powder bed fusion technologies. The metal powders being processed by EBM® technology are usually more coarse offering further economical advantages of the process. As EBM® is a “hot-process” not having the huge temperature gradients like SLM/DMLS the residual stress in the fabricated parts is significantly lower. The surface roughness of EBM® parts is higher compared to Selective Laser Melting (SLM) or Direct Metal Laser Sintering parts. Though it always depends the specific requirements of the application to say what’s the “better” technology. Zenith focus is on Titanium but also Stainless and Nickel-based alloy are getting processed. But the aim is to be more than just a high-tech machine shop building parts for race yachts, Formula One and medical industry. Martyn explained to me projects where Zenith is contributing own designs, improving product performance and making the production process and life cycle costs more economical. I was highly impressed by the sophisticated machine set-up and the expansion plans. The fact that Zenith is offsetting their entire power consumption with own photovoltaic solar panels showed me as well Zenith Tecnica focus on the future.