3D Systems unveils next-gen high-production additive metal solution

  • 08-Nov-2017 02:33 EST
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The system is comprised of function-specific modules. Automated transport modules move removable print modules from sealed containers (left in row) to printer modules (center in row) where additively manufactured metal components are built up. Transport modules then transfer the removable print modules to powder modules (not picture in row) which provide “de-powder” functionality in a sealed unit. The powder is removed from the component and unused powder is recycled for future printing.

3D Systems' next-generation additive metal production platform is designed to allow manufacturers to scale their additive manufacturing platform for integration into the factory floor. Based on the 3D System’s existing Direct Metal Printing (DMP) precision metals technology, the company claims the new DMP 8500 Factory Solution is the first truly scalable, automated, and fully integrated metal additive manufacturing solution.

3D Systems claims DMP techniques allows for the production of small and extremely complex shapes with no need for tooling and permits different part design than conventional processes like machining, stamping, or die casting will allow. 

While unconventional part design and lightweighting through 3D-printing has been a popular concept for the past several years, 3D Systems is aiming to address “right-sizing” and accelerating the production cycle with its new additive metal printing platform. The DMP 8500 integrates the 3D printing workflow, from powder in to part out. This enables it to produce repeatable, high-quality parts with a lower total cost of operation (TCO). The platform also possesses a large diameter build size and can produce metal parts up to 500 x 500 x 500 mm.

By using a modular design, the DMP 8500 presents a scaled solution; small or start-up manufacturers can acquire the system at a reduced capital investment. The DMP 8500 Factory Solution is comprised of function-specific modules designed to maximize efficiency by optimizing utilization of each module.

“Removable print modules” are sealed modules designed for powder and part transport between the other printer, powder, and transport modules. They enable a continuous production workflow and maximize powder quality throughout the process.

The printer modules are designed for continuous production cycles and enable manufacturers to maintain maximum printer uptime and output. Powder management modules offer efficient “de-powder” functionality for parts on build platforms. Additionally, they reduce time and material waste by automatically recycling unused powder materials and preparing the removable print modules for the next build.

The transport modules allow for movement of the removable print modules between printer and powder modules, which reduces overall production time. By configuring a factory with the optimum quantity of each module, manufacturers with be able to tailor the system to their individual workflow. 

3D Systems says the new DMP 8500 platform is planned for availability in the fourth quarter of 2018 as part of their “Figure 4” strategy. Another system in 3D System’s latest rollout include the ProX SLS 6100 nylon 3D printer and a new DuraForm ProX FR12000 nylon printing medium that meets flame retardancy thresholds for interior aerospace cabin parts.

In addition to announcing the DMP 8500 and ProX SLS 6100, the company also announced a new high-speed printing upgrade (30% reduced print time) for LaserForm Ti Gr5 and Ti Gr23 alloys and the addition of a new alloy, LaserForm Maraging Steel, to its existing material profile. The new alloy is machinable, weldable, and can be hardened, while also maintaining suitable properties for injection molding and tooling applications.

The company also introduced an upgrade to customers with an existing parameter set license for specific LaserForm metal materials to help them achieve faster build times. The new extra-high productivity parameters for LaserForm Ti Gr5 and Ti Gr23 enable users to achieve high-speed metal printing with proven DMP quality. A high level of consistent, repeatable part quality is maintained, while build time is reduced by more than 30% resulting in lower part cost, says the company.

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