Aiming to save one gigatonne of CO2 by 2030, Domin Valves has turned to more efficient additive manufacturing technology to build out its designs for ultra-efficient hydraulic valves
From animatronics to aerospace, Domin Valves’s hydraulic servos power precise, controlled movements across fast-moving, high-performance sectors. In order to keep pace with the level of design and engineering required, the Bristol, UK-based company is aiming to take its products to the next level while simultaneously satisfying rigorous demands and quality assurances.
Globally, hydraulic systems produce twice the CO2 emissions produced by the aerospace industry, and Domin is on a mission to tackle that issue. With better designs, it hopes to save the industry one gigatonne of CO2 by 2030.
“Most hydraulic systems today only operate at 23% efficiency, resulting in the wastage of billions of kilowatthours every year,” says Domin CEO Marcus Pont.
“Over its lifetime, each of these game-changing valves has the potential to save multiple tonnes of CO2e, and with them, we can spearhead the advance of the fluid power industry towards a sustainable future.”
Domin’s latest ‘direct drive’ servos have benefited from the use of 3D printing, enabling the company to remove and combine components, use clever hydraulic connections to minimise mass and volume and enjoy the design freedom required to identify a new, stable design.
“It is a product that performs all the required customer functions better than the current state-of-the-art [product] and costs less to produce,” says Pont.
Offering a versatility that means they can be used across a broad range of applications, demand for these new valves looked set to outpace supply.
The first step in tackling any potential shortfall was the setting-up of a new production facility, which will consolidate Domin’s manufacturing capabilities, taking it from three facilities (one in Poland and two in the UK) to a new technology centre in Pucklechurch, near Bristol.
The second step has been to expand on its use of cutting-edge design and manufacturing technologies, combining additive manufacturing with other innovations such as high-speed motor control, modern electronics, big data and connected technology, in order to create a range of four new servo proportional hydraulic valves.
With metal additive manufacturing, Domin is designing complex geometries with internal features such as highly efficient, stiff structures that would not be possible to build using conventional manufacturing methods.
The installation of Renishaw’s RenAM 500Q 3D printing system at the new Pucklechurch technology centre is handling the bulk of production, enabling the company to scale productivity while maintaining the high quality of the end product that its customers require.
“We expect that the increased capacity that the new AM system provides will allow us to maintain low-production turnaround times and deliver consistently high quality to our growing customer base,” explains Pont.
Domin was drawn to the RenAM 500Q system due to its four high-power 500W lasers, which can access the whole powder bed surface simultaneously, for significantly faster build rates than previous systems.
While this alone vastly improves productivity and lowers cost per part, it also reduces the amount of waste powder output.
The RenAM 500Q system also features an intelligent gas flow system that removes detrimental emissions from the laser’s path, resulting in a more stable processing environment that has driven up quality standards of enduse parts.
With more efficient additive systems, the knock-on effect is that Domin is set to build even more energysaving products, all capable of delivering a precise and controlled positive impact on CO2 emissions.
This article first appeared in DEVELOP3D Magazine
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