Conflux Technology and GKN Additive team up to bring 3D printed heat exchangers to Europe

GKN Additive, a 3D printing service provider, has partnered with heat transfer specialist Conflux Technology to design and produce 3D printed heat exchangers for customers in Europe.

Conflux has built its entire business around 3D printed heat exchangers, which feature optimized geometries to maximize the cooling efficiency of high temperature parts. With the latest partnership, Conflux will combine its expertise in heat exchanger design with GKN’s high-volume 3D printing capabilities to serve customers in the automotive, aerospace, electronics and beyond.

John Dulchinos, President of GKN Additive, said, “We are delighted to partner with Conflux Technology. Heat exchangers and thermal management are key areas where 3D printing can provide high value solutions. Combining our strengths with industry application experts such as Conflux enables us to deliver best-in-class solutions to our customers. »

3D printed heat exchangers. Photo via Conflux.

The stronghold of Conflux heat exchangers

Conflux Technology was founded in 2017 by Michael Fuller, an engineer with a background in Formula 1, World Rally Championship and Le Mans. Fuller took what he learned about heat exchangers from the motorsport world and transferred it into the field of additive manufacturing. His company is now looking to disrupt the $16.6 billion heat exchanger market with 3D-printed devices via laser powder bed fusion technology.

The company’s 3D printing capability is backed by computer simulations of heat transfer, which enable the production of high-performance heat exchangers optimized for all kinds of critical industries. According to Conflux, its printed parts offer unique designs that can offer performance, cost and time advantages over their traditionally manufactured counterparts.

Conflux also prides itself on its extensive portfolio of engineering services, including product design, CFD analysis, in-house 3D printing, post-processing, and even independent validation.

In October 2021, the company closed an $8.5 million (AUD) Series A funding round with AM Ventures and adopted Australia’s ‘Synchrotron’ particle accelerator to identify anomalies hidden in its parts 3D printed.

More recently, in February this year, Conflux also partnered with the School of Engineering and the Institute of Frontier Materials (IFM) at Deakin University to develop new aluminum alloys for its heat exchangers. heat 3D printed. The nine-month research project is supported by $138,000 in funding from the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Center (IMCRC).

The design of the Conflux Core <a class=heat exchanger. Photo via Conflux.” class=”wp-image-118086″ data-lazy-srcset=”×705.png 1024w,×530.png 770w,×138.png 200w,×344.png 500w, 1916w” data-lazy-sizes=”(max-width: 1024px) 100vw, 1024px” data-lazy-src=”×705.png”/>
The design of the Conflux Core heat exchanger. Photo via Conflux.

Leverage the design freedom of 3D printing

At their core, Conflux heat exchangers take advantage of the design freedom afforded by additive manufacturing. After all, according to Fuller, the performance of a heat exchanger “is highly dependent on geometry”.

The company uses its own specialized DfAM methodology to enable the bulk of the design work, initially developing several design concepts to choose from. Conflux also performs CFD and FEA (Finite Element Analysis) simulations on its designs to predict the performance of each of its geometries. Here, characteristics such as heat flux and fluid flow are optimized by improving the designs heat rejection and pressure drop.

As a result, Conflux can provide unique monolithic heat exchangers with geometric characteristics that are simply not possible with subtractive manufacturing methods. Naturally, the 3D printing-centric approach also comes with its own set of challenges. For example, it is difficult to determine the likelihood of thin-wall failures when dealing with monolithic parts containing complex internal cooling channels.

With GKN Additive now on board, Conflux is more ready than ever to expand its customer base and increase production across Europe.

Fuller said, “We are delighted to be able to offer our customers access to GKN Additive’s manufacturing services. Its ability to manufacture high volume orders in Europe is a perfect fit for our EU customers looking for mass production close to the point of use. Being able to provide our technology to their wide range of high profile and technologically advanced customers is already proving successful. »

Conflux Technology & GKN Additive kick-off meeting in Bonn, Germany.  Photo via Conflux.
Conflux Technology & GKN Additive kick-off meeting in Bonn, Germany. Photo via Conflux.

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The featured image shows the design of the Conflux Core heat exchanger. Photo via Conflux.

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