Siemens has achieved an industry breakthrough with the first successful commercial installation and continuing safe operation of a 3D-printed part in a nuclear power plant.
The replacement part produced for the Krško nuclear power plant in Slovenia is a metallic, 108mm diameter impeller for a fire protection pump that is in constant rotating operation. The water pump provides pressure for the fire protection system at the plant. The original impeller was in operation since the plant was commissioned in 1981; its original manufacturer is no longer in business. Obsolete, non-OEM parts are particularly well-suited for this new technology as they and their designs are virtually impossible to obtain. This technology thus allows mature operating plants to continue operating and achieving or, as in the Krško case, even extending, their full life expectancy.
Siemens' team reverse-engineered and created a "digital twin" of the part. The company's additive manufacturing (AM) facility in Finspång, Sweden, then applied its advanced AM process using a 3D printer to produce the part.