Components used in chemical process engineering applications such as reactors, mixers and heat exchangers are key elements which determine the efficiency and safety of chemical processes. These often highly complex devices are subject to mechanical, thermal and corrosive stress. A particular problem in manufacturing such components is the relatively small number of units often in combination with materials that are difficult to machine. Furthermore, conventional manufacturing methods do not allow for a completely free three-dimensional design of the equipment. Here, additive manufacturing is a powerful tool for the production of highly complex tailor-made components for use in chemical process engineering.
The Technology Transfer Center VerTec aims for a holistic approach. Computer-aided modelling and simulation allow for the identification of almost ideal geometries. These structures are manufactured by selective electron beam melting of metal powder. Using appropriate coating technologies, the surface can be functionalized with regard to catalytic activity. Finally, application tests are conducted to demonstrate the superior performance compared to state of the art equipment.