Additive manufacturing accelerates Framatome’s product development and streamlines the manufacturing process to bring high-quality products to market quickly. The innovative technique manufactures metal parts with complex geometries that would be unattainable with traditional processes. It also offers customizations and significant improvements in the performance of manufactured components.
"The evidence-based findings from our research and qualification project, conducted on components produced using additive manufacturing, reinforce our confidence in future uses of this technology,” said Lionel Gaiffe, senior executive vice president of the Fuel Business Unit at Framatome. “Today, we embark upon the certification of components and additive manufacturing for our nuclear fuel assembly components.”
Framatome will launch additive manufacturing for its industrial manufacturing of fuel assembly components for pressurized water, boiling water and VVER reactors. The technique is also regularly used for other nuclear fuel applications such as rapid prototyping, and manufacturing of test components and fuel production line tools, in-reactor fuel inspection and repair services tools, research reactor fuel assemblies, and uranium metal medical targets.
The additive manufacturing project was initiated in 2015 at Framatome’s prototyping laboratory in Erlangen, Germany. It focuses on additive manufacturing for stainless steel and nickel-based alloy fuel assembly components. The project involves Framatome fuel experts from France, Germany and the U.S., in close collaboration with customers worldwide. The project is also supported by the European Union and U.S. Department of Energy programs and relies on international laboratories and companies recognized for scientific advances in additive manufacturing.
Framatome is an international leader in nuclear energy recognized for its innovative solutions and value added technologies for the global nuclear fleet. With worldwide expertise and a proven track record for reliability and performance, the company designs, services and installs components, fuel, and instrumentation and control systems for nuclear power plants. Its more than 14,000 employees work every day to help Framatome’s customers supply ever cleaner, safer and more economical low-carbon energy.
Framatome is owned by the EDF Group (75.5%), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI – 19.5%) and Assystem (5%).