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  • Matthias Bringezu

FORMNEXT 2015

A summary on trends in metal Additive Manufacturing

The FORMMEXT trade show is focusing on Additive Manufacturing and 3D printing took place in Frankfurt from the 17th to the 20th November.

What’s news in metal Additive Manufacturing?

TRUMPF Trumpf GmbH+Co. KG is a privately held company for manufacturing solutions from Ditzingen Germany.

The industry has waited a long time for TRUMPFs come-back in powder bed based laser metal additive manufacturing since the production of the TRUMAFORM machines were stopped. So Trumpf is back with new machines and a process called 3D LASER METAL FUSION. Trumpf presented two machines, the TruPrint 1000 and the TruPrint 3000


The TruPrint 1000 was developed in a joint venture with Italian company SISMA S.P.A. Since 2014 SISMA is selling a very similar system called mysint100.

The TruPrint 1000 is a compact machine with a build-envelope of 100 mm / 3.937 Inch diameter and with a z-axis of 100 mm / 3.937 Inch. The build plates are clamped from underneath so the entire surface area can utilize. Build space reductions for processing smaller quantities is optional. The system is equipped with a 200 W fiber laser, and it is capable of processing reactive materials such as Aluminum and Titanium. Interesting is the optional 500  degrees Celsius / 932 Fahrenheit pre-heating option vs. the 200 degrees Celsius / 392 Fahrenheit standard heater. The TruPrint 1000 will be available in four versions:

  1. Jewelry The jewelry package offers a laser spot size of 30-micron compared to the standard of 55 micron, It also comes with a 50 by 50 millimeter / 1.9685 by 1.9685 Inch build space reduction for processing precious metals.

  2. Industry The industrial version can be perched down to an Oxygen level of 50ppm and it comes with a glove box.

  3. Dental The dental version comes with a license to produce dental parts.

  4. Lab The Lab can be perched down to an Oxygen level of 50 ppm further, it comes with a glove box and build space reduction

Click here to see a video of the TruPrint 1000 in operation.

The TruPrint 3000 presented was still a prototype but operational.


TruPrint300 in operation


The final system will be equipped with a single 500 W fiber laser, offering a build-envelope with dimensions of 300 mm / 11.811 Inch in diameter and a z-axis of 400 mm / 15.748 Inch. The build space can be heated up to 200 degrees Celsius / 392 degrees Fahrenheit, but a 500 degree Celsius / 932 degrees Fahrenheit preheating will be optional.  An interesting feature is that the build-envelope as the powder feeding cylinders can be completely removed for a faster external part and material handling and thus higher productivity.

Both machines can be monitored and controlled via an app. The TRUMPF Visual Online Support is also available.

REALIZER REALIZER GmbH is a privately held company from Paderborn/Borchen, Germany. The company is producing Selective Laser Melting equipment since 2004.

REALIZER SLM300i


REALIZER  unveiled their new SLM300i system and also presented their new SLM125 system. New is the closed loop powder recycling, fully integrated, in the compact mono-chassis-cabinets.

SLM300i The SLM300i offers a build-envelope of 300 mm / 11.811 Inch cube. The system is standard equipped with a single fiber laser between 400 and 1000 W. A dual scanner version will also be available, but the two lasers will have separate work fields and won’t be able to interact to ’realize’ one part, yet.

RDesigner software REALIZER recently renewed their software architecture for a more streamlined data preparation. The new software allows to generate very intricate support structures which can make it obsolete to use third party software for this task.


Also on show was the SLM50 desktop system, which is still the most compact system in the market. Italien company ProGold S.p.A. showcased high-end jewelry produced using ReaLizer SLM technology.

Electro Optical Systems Electro Optical Systems GmbH / EOS is a privately held company from Krailling, Germany. EOS is providing powder bed fusion systems for polymers as metals since the mid 1990s.

EOS presented their new Direct Metal Sintering (DMLS) system  M100 It is a slightly up-scaled PRECIOUS M080. The M080 was also on show and in operation at the booth from Cookson Gold.

EOS M100 


EOS was also presenting their new EOSTATE MELT POOL MONITORING, a real-time process monitoring system. The way the system works makes it most suitable for serial production as it is based on a historic data which has to be created in the first place. So it is not a solution to assess one-off parts but a tool to reduce expensive non-destructive assessment methods like tomography in serial production.


According to EOS the EOSTATE MELT POOL MONITORING can retrofit only to the EOS M290 machine generation.

Build plate M 400 – 4


Last but not least EOS announced their M400 with four 400 Watt laser and four scanner systems. The optics are based on the current EOS M290 system to enable an easy transfer of process parameters. So far the four laser are serving four separate fields to increase productivity to build small to medium sized parts. But EOS is working on qualifying process parameters for conjoined fields, so that the four lasers can work simultaneously on one component to increase productivity.

RENISHAW plc Renishaw plc is a stock listed engineering company with its headquarter inGloucestershire, UK. In 2011 RENISHAW acquired MTT TECHNOLOGIES Ltd and invested into its Additive Manufacturing division.

At FORMNEXT RENISHAW unveiled the RenAM 500M

RENISHAW RenAM500


The 500 stands for a single 500 W fiber laser. The  dimensions of the build-envelope are still of 250 by 250 mm in XY like the AM250. New ist the high-resolution ball screw with an absolute encoding system on the z-axis. Further has the machine a cartridge based filter system with two filters which can be exchanged during operation. The filters are pre-perched with Argon prior use. A powder recycling system is integrated in the mono cabinet chassis, easy to operate with the glove box door. The new software package offers features for very easy process parameter development. It also allows the creation of simple support structures.

SLM Solutions SLM Solutions Group AG is a stock listed company (AM3D.DE) from Lübeck Germany SLM Solutions was previously known as MCP HEK/Group & MTT Technologies GmbH and is a manufacturer of Selective Laser Melting equipment since 2009.

SLM125HL


SLM Solutions presented their entire product portfolio. The SLM125HL , the SLM280HL dual laser and the SLM500HL quad laser system. New was the announcement of a melt pool monitoring system with a sample rate of several hundred kHZ.

Additive Industries BV Additive Industries was founded in 2012 and is based in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The company is developing an industrial grade metal AM system and has just sold its first system to AIRBUS AP WORKS. 

Instead of shipping an entire MetalFAB1 production line to Frankfurt, Additive Industries highlighted the functionalities in a 3D animation via virtual reality goggles.

But the MetalFAB1 is more than just a powder bed based laser metal additive manufacturing system. The system is built of separate units. The core is the production unit with two process chambers. The two powder beds are served by only one multi-laser scanner unit. After fusing the powder in process chamber A the unit slides over process chamber B, boosting productivity by utilizing optics and lasers while the new powder layer is deposited. There will be different options regarding laser and scanner configuration. The next unit is a powder extraction and powder recycling enabling a fully automated part and material handling. The last unit is the heat treatment furnace to release residual stress.

It is interesting to see a relatively new player in the market taking on not only the metal AM process but also the challenge of creating a highly automated system for industrial applications.

CONCEPT LASER GmbH Concept Laser is a privately held company is producing powder bed based laser metal additive manufacturing systems. The company was founded in 2000 and has its headquarter in Lichtenfels, Germany. CONCEPT LASER presented their understanding r metal Additive Manufacturing solution for industry applications. The machine concept presented had a couple of very innovative features. The recoater-arm is depositing powder layers only in one direction. ButbInstead of repositioning the arm prior or after the exposure by the laser the arm is repositioned whilst the laser is scanning. The trick is that, after depositing the powder layer the arm slides into the inner of the machine. This technique saves valuable time every single layer. 

Another interesting feature is the material and part handling in the center of the machine. A handling system like a conveyor belt is running through the system.  A built space with a finished job can be moved to one side of the machine and loading  new material and a build plate from the other side. The idea is that several machines can be connected in a lined, extending the conveyor belt. Loading all machines from the left and unloading them from the right. This new approach is interesting as it is very different to the X-Line machines with it’s rotating double chamber design.

CONCEPT also had their M2 dual laser system as well the Mlab system on show. Further CONCEPT LASER presented a variety of applications of their technology. Topology optimized components from automotive to aerospace applications.


MATERIALISE BV

Materialise is a public listed company (MTLS) and a provider of software solutions for Additive Manufacturing. Further the company offers services and solutions from automotive to the medical sector. The company was founded in 1990 and has its headquarter in Leuven, Belgium.

AMCP


MATERIALISE presented the AMCP AMCP stand for ‘Additive Manufacturing Control Platform‘ and is a piece of hardware. With a sampling rate of 600 kHz its processing speed is higher to common industry PCs and PLCs. The unit is designed for real-time process monitoring and according to MATERIALISE for closed-loop control. Inputs through process monitoring such as thermal imaging and melt pool monitoring will be processed to adjust output for heating and laser power. MATERIALISE is in discussion with several OEMs to offer the AMCP as an option directly with the machine purchase.

Written by Matthias Bringezu

#TruPrint1000 #RENISHAW #EOSM100 #SLMSolutions #AdditiveIndustries #Realizer #ElectroOpticalSystems #AMCP #SLM300i #SLM125HL #Materialise #FORMNEXT2015 #SLM125 #TruPrint3000 #RenAM500M

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