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3D Printing And Titanium — A Life-Changing Combination

3D printing And Titanium — A Life-Changing Combination

3D printing is delivering customisation options that make it possible to create almost any shape using additive manufacturing (AM) technology. In fact, the possibilities of 3D printing are so game-changing, it is even possible to create carbon copies of our own skulls. Sandvik’s additive manufacturing and metal powder specialists are exploring the potential of AM in the medical field, and are preparing for the future of medical implants.

Life-threatening accidents, vertebral damage, chronic osteopathic conditions and side-effects from medical treatment can all cause irreparable damage to patients. The consequences can be painful, debilitating and even fatal, so we must develop solutions to help the human body overcome challenges, enhance the healing process and improve patient prognosis. Medical implant technology has developed vastly over the years, and one of manufacturing’s most disruptive technologies is set to transform the way we treat patients.

Medical implant developers require a manufacturing technology that delivers speed, individualisation and the ability to produce complex designs. 3D printing, paired with bio-compatible materials like titanium, is demonstrating its evident potential as the medical industry’s manufacturing technology of choice for life-changing solutions.

In the past, surgeons used metal mesh to replace areas of the body such as skull bones, which tended to be weak and lacked precision. 3D printing eliminates these flaws because it uses medical imaging to create a customised implant, shaped exactly according to the individual’s anatomical data. This means that the patient can be fitted with an exact match to replace the lost or damaged area of the skull.

In Sandviken, Sweden, lies one of the world’s most cutting-edge titanium powder plants. At the plant, Sandvik’s experts are unlocking the potential of 3D printed titanium devices for the medical industry. “Titanium, 3D printing and the medical sector are the perfect match,” explains Harald Kissel, R&D Manager at Sandvik Additive Manufacturing.

“Titanium has excellent properties and is one of few metals accepted by the human body, while 3D printing can rapidly deliver bespoke results for an industry where acting quickly could be the difference between life and death.”

In addition to titanium’s material benefits, AM can help overcome some of the challenges when producing medical implants and prosthetics. Typically, the process of being fit for a prosthesis involves several visits to create a device that fits a patient and their needs. As a result, the time between a patient’s life-changing surgery and them receiving their device can be painstakingly slow.

“If a patient undergoes a serious accident, one that destroys areas such as the skull or spine beyond repair, they simply do not have time to spare to ensure their reconstructive devices fit correctly. Instead, they’re given solutions that work, but aren’t tailored to their bodies,” Kissel explained.

“Long waiting times and a lack of customisation can really impact how a patient feels after they’ve undergone a life-changing event or procedure. Even in 2020, there are still prosthetic patients using devices that do not move, or are simply just hooks.”

“Using computer tomography, it is now possible to optimise designs that simply cannot be produced using other manufacturing methods. What’s more, we can make our designs lighter, with less material waste and in shorter lead times. Patients could receive a perfectly matching device, in less time and using a high-performing, lightweight material.”

In summer 2020, Sandvik’s specialist powder plant was awarded the ISO 13485:2016 medical certification for its Osprey titanium powders, positioning its highly automated production process at the forefront of medical device development. As AM disrupts many areas of manufacturing, it’s clear that its potential in the medical sector will be life changing.

Sandvik is also part of one of the most ground-breaking research projects within the medical segment to date, contributing with its extensive material expertise. The Swiss M4M Center in Switzerland is a public-private partnership initiated by the Swiss government, aiming to evolve medical 3D printing to a level where patient-specific, innovative implants can be developed and manufactured quickly and cost-effectively.

“The Swiss M4M Center is intended to build up and certify a complete end-to-end production line for medical applications, like implants. Being able to facilitate this initiative through the unique material knowledge that is found within Sandvik is an empowering experience. Joining forces with an array of experts to reinvent the future of medical devices as well as the lives of thousands of people — is an experience out of the ordinary.”

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Lightning Fast 3D Printing: SLM Solutions Prints E-Drive Housing From Porsche On NXG XII 600

Lightning Fast 3D printing: SLM Solutions Prints E-Drive Housing From Porsche On NXG XII 600

Has metal 3D printing arrived in the manufacturing industry and is the technology ready to enter serial production? What does it take to make the leap to industrialisation?

With its recently launched innovative SLM machine NXG XII 600, SLM Solutions provided an answer to these questions. The machine sets new milestones in terms of productivity, size, reliability and safety and paves the way to the future of manufacturing. Now, SLM Solutions presents application examples, produced on the NXG XII 600, which impressively illustrate the speed and productivity of the machine to reduce part costs.

The NXG XII 600 is equipped with twelve overlapping 1 kW lasers and a build envelope of 600x600x600 mm, enabling the production of large-volume square parts with up to 120 µm layer thickness and even more. Productivity is further enhanced through variable beam spot, bi-directional recoating, laser balance and an optimised gas flow while a closed environment maximises operator safety.

One company that has already tested the productivity of the NXG XII 600 is Porsche. The Porsche advanced powertrain engineering department also focuses on large powertrain applications, such as E-drive housings, cylinder blocks, cylinder heads etc. in additive manufacturing. In a proof of concept with the SLM machine NXG XII 600 a complete E-drive housing with an innovative AM Design was successfully printed. Porsche thereby sets high quality demands on the part: A permanent magnet motor with 800 volt operating voltage delivers up to 205 kW (280 hp). The downstream two-stage transmission is integrated in the same housing and drives the wheels with up to 2,100 Newton meters of torque. This highly integrated approach is designed for use on the front axle of a sports car.

All the advantages of additive manufacturing have been implemented in this housing such as topology optimisation with lattice structures to reduce the weight, functional integration of cooling channels, higher stiffness and reduced assembly time by the integration of parts as well as improvements in part quality.

Falk Heilfort, powertrain development engineer of Porsche states: “This new manufacturing technology is technically and economically interesting for us. Possible use cases are especially prototypes in the development phase, special and small series production as well as for motor sport and classic spare parts.“ The E-drive unit measures 590 x 560 x 367 mm and was built in only 21 hours on the NXG XII 600.

Ralf Frohwerk, Global Head of Business Development of SLM Solutions, is delighted with the excellent results of the Porsche part: “We are glad and proud to cooperate with highly innovate companies like Porsche. The NXG XII 600 achieves unmatched levels of performance and functional improvements of key automotive parts while delivering cost productivity that enables broad use of additive manufacturing technology for true series production. We are thrilled to take this big step towards full industrialisation of metal additive manufacturing for Porsche applications.”

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Solving Porosity Problems In Additive Manufacturing

Solving Porosity Problems in Additive Manufacturing

Additive manufacturing is revolutionising manufacturing in a number of industries, yet it is still subject to porosity, a well-known challenge that causes leak paths and can lead to high value components being scrapped. In this article, Dr. Mark Cross of Ultraseal International Group talks about how additive printing consultancy Graphite AM overcame this issue.

Additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, enables the fast and cost-effective production of complex high-quality components in a range of materials. The rise of this technology has been fast, and it is rapidly altering the manufacturing landscape.

According to Deloitte, additive manufacturing is empowering Industry 4.0. In 2019, the global additive manufacturing market size was valued at $11.58 billion and is predicted to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) exceeding 14 percent from 2020 to 2027, according to Grand View Research.

3D printing has evolved from a revolutionary technology into a mainstream process and is now being used across a wide range of industries. From aerospace relying on additive manufacturing for functional aircraft components to automotive using it for grips, jigs and fixtures, 3D printing has seen a significant growth in applications and it’s easy to see why. 

Thanks to its clean and simple process, 3D printing produces high quality components and removes the need for expensive tooling and machining. Additive manufacturing is not only ideal for small and intricate parts, but it is also a cost-effective and quick way to produce prototypes, one-offs and components in low volumes.

A Pinhole Porosity Problem

However, as the manufacturing technology evolves, a legacy challenge still remains: porosity. During additive manufacturing, microscopic holes that are invisible to the naked eye are formed within the body of the part. Porosity is an inherent issue with diecast components and while the cause and application might be different, the end result is always the same—and that is scrappage. 

Typically, porosity is caused either by the printing process itself, or by the powder used in the process. These microscopic voids reduce the density of components, leading to cracks, leaks and fatigue. For parts that go into applications which need to be air or fluid tight – for example in fuel or cooling systems—this can be an especially critical issue.

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Review: The Future Of Additive Manufacturing In Southeast Asia

Review: The Future Of Additive Manufacturing In Southeast Asia

Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN), in conjunction with SLM Solutions, SIEMENS, Universal Robots, Markforged, NAMIC, and GlobalData held a two-part webinar on 24 Nov and 15 Dec 2020 aimed at helping manufacturers understand 3D printing better and gather insights on the way forward for additive manufacturing (AM) in Southeast Asia.

In the first session on 24 Nov with SLM Solutions, SIEMENS and Globaldata, we looked at where the pandemic has left the AM industry in 2020; key considerations towards successful adoption; case studies which showcased the flexibility and agility of AM in the fight against the pandemic. Click here to view its recap as well as watch the playback of the session. 

We picked up from where we left off in our second session on 15 Dec with Gary Tang, Regional Sales Director, at SLM Solutions Singapore; Li Chen, Application Engineer, APAC, at Markforged; James McKew, Regional Director, APAC, at Universal Robots; and Dr. Ho Chaw Sing, Managing Director at the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Cluster (or NAMIC).

In a lively roundtable discussion, we addressed burning questions like how AM is a strategic differentiator in today’s manufacturing environment, how it presents unique opportunities and the future developing trends. Other discussion highlights include how to justify investments in 3D printing technologies, and the importance of partnering with the right companies or organisations, because AM is a very fast growing technology and no one company knows everything.

View the full webinar here!

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AM Heralding New Chapter For Fluid Flow Applications

AM Heralding New Chapter For Fluid Flow Applications

Making the most of additive manufacturing (AM) is not only about installing the technology. As with anything, the deeper the knowledge of the process, the more one can get out of it and the more applications can be developed. AM experts and application engineers are thus in a unique position, from which they can innovate and solve many challenges associated with traditional manufacturing.

Perhaps no area illustrates this dynamic better than fluid flow applications, which exist across many industries that are driving adoption of AM: from automotive and motorsports, to aerospace, energy and beyond. For years, our knowledge of fluid dynamics has gone beyond what we’ve been able to achieve using conventional manufacturing processes. Now, additive manufacturing is changing this reality, enabling engineers to produce optimised designs that would have previously been impossible to make.

Thanks to AM, it is now possible to create fluid flow systems that are superior in terms of performance, efficiency and reliability. In a new, free to download eBook, 3D Systems explores applications of its AM technologies for fluid flow systems, highlighting real and extensive benefits in terms of everything from performance to weight reduction.

Bed of 3D printed fuel nozzle

Untethering design

Many of the benefits of additive manufacturing for fluid flow applications are related to design. Compared to subtractive manufacturing, AM offers an exceptional level of design freedom, allowing for the creation of parts with complex internal geometries and features. In short, this means that we can now conceive of new and better designs for fluid flow applications.

CERN, the Switzerland-based European organisation that operates the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest particle collider (and the world’s largest machine), partnered with 3D Systems’ Application Innovation Group (AIG) to redesign and manufacture titanium cool-bars for LHC experiments. AM enabled the partners to overcome several challenges associated with the parts, which are used to cool the detection area to -40 deg C to preserve particle reactions for study.

CERN and 3D Systems designed 3D printed cool-bars for the LHCb assembly

Chief among the challenges was space: the cool-bars had to fit into a limited space while still dissipating enough heat. They had to achieve temperature uniformity over the length of a photo-detection strip, which measures 140 meters in length and less than 2 mm in width. All while meeting flatness specifications for detector efficiency and resolution.

Based on these requirements, the partners conceived of the perfect part design. “This design was so beautiful, but it was not producible in the usual ways,” explained Antonio Pellegrino, a leader on the LHCb SciFi Tracker project at CERN.

Using Direct Metal Printing (DMP), 3D Systems’ AIG and CERN were able to manufacture more than 300 units of the titanium cool-bars, each of which met the necessary specifications, including 0.25 mm wall thicknesses (to improve heat dissipation), leak tightness and flatness with a precision of 50 microns. The full case study can be found here.

 

Flowing across industry segments

A lamella heat exchanger design

The benefits of AM in fluid flow systems extend well beyond CERN, from heat exchangers, to integrated cooling, to propulsion systems and fuel injectors, to fluid manifolds and all the way to microfluidics. AM is enabling improved efficiency for all these fluid flow applications, in more ways than one.

On the one hand, additive manufacturing can enable the production of more lightweight structures thanks to optimised geometries. This ability is especially crucial in applications like propulsion systems and fuel injectors, where weight is a critical factor and can drive up operating costs.

In designing a liquid rocket engine injector, for example, the German Space Center (DLR), in cooperation with the 3D Systems Customer Innovation Center, was able to consolidate 30 components into a single part, which resulted in a final weight reduction of 10 percent. On top of that, the consolidated design eliminated points of failure that existed in the original system, improving overall system performance. The 3D printed fuel injector also integrated certain features, like pressure and temperature sensor channels, which resulted in superior cooling and combustion performance. These performance-enhancing features were enabled by 3D Systems’ DMP technology.

A recent test fire by the DLR

“Based on the success of space-related initiatives involving DMP, we thought that 3D Systems was perfectly suited for providing the design-for-manufacturing aspects of the injector head, with an eye on new possibilities for sensor integration and fuel and coolant distribution,” explained Markus Kuhn, who is managing the injector head project at DLR.

 

A simply better flow

AM can also improve the efficiency of fluid flow applications by directly improving on fluid dynamics. Most conventional manufacturing processes favor designs with sharp corners, which can be problematic, as fluid moving through internal channels can become trapped in stagnant zones. This, in turn, leads to pressure loss and reduces efficiency. Design for AM can eliminate these troublesome design features and create internal channels that are optimised for fluid dynamics. These benefits can be seen most clearly in fluid manifolds in semiconductor machinery and microfluidic devices used in research labs.

Similarly, it is possible to design fluid flow systems with intentional turbulence to achieve peak cooling. In heat exchangers, for instance, built-in turbulence can increase thermal transfer, which can be useful in refrigeration appliances, energy generation and many other applications. Overall, AM enables engineers and fluid flow specialists to base designs off of fluid dynamics rather than on manufacturing limitations.

A 3D printed hydraulic manifold with optimised flow

To sum it up, additive manufacturing is changing the state of fluid flow applications for the better, offering improved manufacturability through part consolidation, superior efficiency through weight reduction and mixing efficiency, and better space utilisation. This is true in virtually all fluid dynamics areas, whether you are 3D printing metal cool-bars for the LHC, a fuel injector, or a plastic microfluidic device with tiny channels.

Still, the learning curve can be fairly steep, as it encompasses not only a new manufacturing process but also a whole new design mindset. Fortunately, the experts are on hand to ease the adoption of AM. Partners like 3D Systems can help end users to make the most out of 3D printing for fluid flow applications, through consulting, as well as through training and manufacturing services. The company says: “We help to discover where and how AM fits within an existing architecture, and advise on how to simplify the onboarding process.”

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Additive Manufacturing Meets Industry 4.0: Igus Makes 3D Printed Tribo-Components Intelligent

Additive Manufacturing Meets Industry 4.0: igus Makes 3D Printed Tribo-Components Intelligent

Even today, 3D printed wear-resistant parts from igus often have the same service life as original parts. Now igus goes one step further and makes the printed components intelligent. Manufactured in filament printing, they warn against overload and report their maintenance requirements.

The special feature: for the first time, the sensors are directly “printed into” the parts. As a result, they not only have extremely short delivery times and low costs but also feature useful Industry 4.0 options.

Additive Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 – two themes that are changing the industry forever. igus engineers have now succeeded in combining both in a single production step: for the first time, sensors are printed into the additively manufactured tribo-component using multi-material printing.

“We have now achieved a real breakthrough with the smart 3D printed bearing”, says Tom Krause, Head of Additive Production at igus. “In this way, predictive maintenance is also possible for special parts in a cost-saving manner.” Long before the failure, the intelligent 3D printed component signals that a replacement is imminent. It can also detect overload in order to stop the application immediately and prevent further damage to the bearing position and the entire system.

Wear or load are monitored

igus has been producing intelligent wear-resistant parts for energy chains, plain bearings and linear guides since 2016. At the start, plain bearings were manufactured from iglidur I3 in laser sintering and the intelligence was subsequently introduced in a second processing step. In this case, however, the production of intelligent special parts in small quantities is complex and expensive, as the downstream work steps are very specifically designed for the respective component.

Using a new process, igus developers are now able to produce such intelligent wear-resistant parts in just a single work step. No further processing steps are necessary and intelligent special wear parts can be produced cost-effectively from five working days. The sensor layer is applied to those parts of the component that will be subjected to load. Wear-resistant components with integrated sensors are created using multi-material printing. The components are manufactured from iglidur I150 or iglidur I180 filaments and a specially developed electrically conductive 3D printing material that bonds well with the tribo-filament.

Currently, two areas of application are possible: if the electrically conductive material is located between the layers subject to wear, it can warn against overloading. Because if the load changes, the electrical resistance also changes. The machine can be stopped and further damage can be prevented. To determine the load limits, the bearing must be calibrated accordingly. If, on the other hand, the conductor track is embedded in the sliding surface, the wear can be measured via the change in resistance. Predictive maintenance is possible with the 3D printed component. The lubrication-free and maintenance-free tribo-component announces when it needs to be replaced, avoiding system downtime and enabling maintenance to be planned in advance. If the 3D printed components are also used in the pre-series stage, the collected wear or load data provide additional information about the service life of the individual component or the planned application in the series. This makes it easier to adapt and optimise the development process.

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Recap: Additive Manufacturing Deployments In Southeast Asia

Recap: Additive Manufacturing Deployments In Southeast Asia

Amid the ongoing global health issue, additive manufacturing (AM) or 3D printing is proving in real time that it is speeding production and bringing new ideas to the market at a lower cost to deliver the needed healthcare equipment and devices the world desperately needs.

In market research released earlier this year, Grand View Research Inc. reported that the overall additive manufacturing industry is projected to reach $35.38 billion by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate of 14.6 percent over the same forecast period. However, the 3D printing industry still has its share of challenges, such as efficiency that the process yields, the machines, and materials.

In line with this, Asia Pacific Metalworking Equipment News (APMEN), in conjunction with SLM Solutions, SIEMENS, Universal Robots, Markforged, NAMIC, and GlobalData held a two-part webinar aimed at helping manufacturers understand 3D printing better and gather insights on the way forward for additive manufacturing in Southeast Asia.

In the first installment of the two-part webinar on 24 November 2020 with SLM Solutions, Siemens and Globaldata, we covered the different AM deployments in Southeast Asia, the process challenges, and the key considerations toward successful adoption.

Watch the round table discussion during the second session held on 15 Dec with SLM Solutions Singapore, Markforged, Universal Robots NAMIC here! 

Where has COVID-19 left us in 2020?

Opening the session with a keynote presentation, David Bicknell, Principal Analyst, Thematic Research at Globaldata gave an insightful overview of where the pandemic has left the additive manufacturing industry in 2020. He discusses the impact of the pandemic, developments in AM and opportunities for ASEAN.

With the pandemic paralysing supply chains, David also highlights how 3D printing can be the solution to building more resilient supply chains and how more companies are embracing 3D printing. He also covered briefly insights from HP which examines the current perception of digital manufacturing.

3D printing has proved to be a source of optimism, and David rounded the session by sharing innovative feats during this challenging environment such as biomimetic tongue surfaces and printed door handles. Where would 3D printing bring us in 2021?

Key Considerations for Successful AM Adoption

Lu Zhen, Lead Application Engineer at SLM Solutions Singapore, speaks about successful AM adoption and projects worldwide—such as the 3D printed titanium brake caliper for Bugati race car—the different stages of AM adoption and market growth, and four key considerations for successful AM adoption: design, in terms of effectiveness and weight; material strength and compatibility; process scalability and repeatability; and economics or cost.

Lu also speaks about factors that would enable increasing adoption and industrialization of AM, such as systematic qualification processes and standards, specialised knowledge, IP, and having a mature supply chain.

Finally, he presents some of the AM projects in Southeast Asia, such as the anti-cavitation trim for EMERSON; core insert for plastic injection mould, for OMNI MOLD; impellers for maritime application, for ShipParts.Com; motor mount base and clutch for race cars, in collaboration with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) of Singapore; and a battery hull for submarine robots, developed in collaboration with the National University of Singapore (NUS).

3D Printed Face Shield

While the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has stalled manufacturing activities worldwide, it has, at the same time, highlighted the speed and flexibility of 3D printing to create and deliver the desperately needed healthcare equipment and devices.

For instance, it has provided Siemens and its Industry 4.0 partners an opportunity to combine their strengths to locally develop and manufacture a face shield designed by Singapore’s Tan Tock Seng Hospital using additive manufacturing. This fully local collaboration saw Siemens’ Advance Manufacturing Transformation Centre (AMTC), supported by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), HP’s Smart Manufacturing Applications and Research Centre (SMARC), and Mitsui Chemicals come together to design, optimise and manufacture the face shields in an accelerated product introduction cycle of under two months.

Benjamin Moey, Vice President, Advance Manufacturing, for ASEAN, at Siemens Pte Ltd, and also the head of Siemens’ AMTC, talks more about this in his presentation, as well as demonstrated the actual 3D-printed face shield.

Wrap Up

The webinar closed the session with a lively Q&A session between the three presenters—SLM’s Lu, Siemens’ Boey, and GlobalData’s Bicknell—with attendees asking questions on simulation technology related to 3D printing; 3D printing software; injection moulding versus 3D printing (in case of the face shield); availability of material base supply; best ways service bureaus can market themselves to attract AM clients; and whether AM will finally see the day it will be used for mass production.

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Fraunhofer Lighthouse Project FutureAM Gets Metallic 3D Printing In Shape For Industrial Use

Fraunhofer Lighthouse Project futureAM Gets Metallic 3D Printing In Shape For Industrial Use

Accelerating the additive production of metal components by at least a factor of 10: With this goal in mind, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft launched the lighthouse project “futureAM – Next Generation Additive Manufacturing” in 2017. As the project ends in November 2020, six Fraunhofer institutes have made technological leaps forward in systems engineering, materials and process control as well as end-to-end digitalisation, thus increasing the performance and cost-effectiveness of metal-based additive manufacturing along the entire process chain.

On the one hand, the futureAM partners have focused on integrating the digital and physical value chain from incoming orders to the finished metallic 3D printed component and, on the other, on making a leap forward into a new technology generation of additive manufacturing. The digital platform Virtual Lab plays an important role in this, as it pools competencies digitally and makes the entire AM process transparent for all partners involved. “We are now on the threshold of industrial implementation”, says Christian Tenbrock, group leader at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT and futureAM project manager. “The expertise we have gained together is now to be transferred to industrial application.”

 

Virtual Lab bundles expertise

A major challenge for futureAM was the interplay between all participants, some of whom cover very different areas of the entire process chain. The Virtual Lab, a digital platform that ensures the exchange of information across all AM task areas and players, has proven its worth. In this context, the Fraunhofer Institute for Additive Production Technologies IAPT has developed various software tools for the design of AM components. In this way, it has created web-based simulation tools for metal AM, tools that can also be used by beginners.

 

Multi-material components without downstream joining

In the “Materials” field of activity, the Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology IWS, Dresden, has researched which materials can be combined with each other in a component and which problems arise in the process. Among other things, the Dresden researchers have dealt with expanding the applicable spectrum of additively processable high-temperature materials and researched how these can be combined in a multi-material design. The interaction of laser material deposition (LMD) and artificial intelligence (AI) yielded an exciting result: Thanks to AI-supported process analysis, the institute could analyse a wide range of influencing factors and optimise the manufacturing process. Fraunhofer IWS demonstrates how well the process already works using multi-material components made of nickel and aluminum. Depending on the component requirements, the researchers add either a third or fourth element in order to adapt the properties exactly to the respective application.

 

Components in XXL format: Take-off 10 times faster

The scientists at Fraunhofer ILT in Aachen have developed a demonstrator system built by a machine manufacturer. It is a system for 3D printing of components on an XXL scale. For example, a demonstrator component for future generations of Rolls-Royce engines could be manufactured with laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) thanks to the large build volume (1000 mm x 800 mm x 400 mm) and a new machine system with a mobile optical system. Similar successes have been achieved with extreme high speed laser material deposition (EHLA), which can now also be used to produce 3D components. The newly developed process allows extremely quick deposition speeds with high detail resolution.

 

Automated post-processing saves resources

The researchers also identified great potential for optimisation in post-processing. The Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU in Chemnitz, therefore, developed an automated solution for this as part of the project. To enable the process to identify and track the physical component beyond doubt and continuously, a code is incorporated during manufacturing and read out later. This code also ensures efficient and trouble-free copy protection. In the next step, the actual geometry of the clamped component is recorded by laser scanners and the optimum processing strategy derived by comparing the target and actual geometry. The processing is then automatically carried out by a robot and is verified in the process by renewed 3D scans.

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3D Printing Metal Technology: Before, During And After COVID-19

3D Printing Metal Technology: Before, During And After COVID-19

The global 3D printing metal market is projected to manifest a significant CAGR from 2019 to 2026, mainly driven by the high-end advancement in 3D technology. Article by Allied Market Research.

Professionals involved in designing and fabricating metal parts are well aware of the immense possibilities of metal 3D printing. And, using additive manufacturing methods for projects has now become a common practice in the manufacturing units. Well, there are an array of different 3D printing equipment and mechanisms available in the market. And, metal 3D printing technology is evolving really fast, giving life to promising and excellent projects. 

According to Allied Market Research, the global 3D printing metal market is projected to manifest a significant compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2019 to 2026. High-end advancement in 3D technology is anticipated to propel the market expansion in more than one way. Additive manufacturing methods that make use of glass, paper, bio-inks, and several compounds and metals for printing, has supplemented the growth yet more. 

Also, in Southeast Asia, the 3D printing metal sector has started witnessing an increasing demand from the defense and aerospace market, as the metals are believed to diminish weight of the aerospace parts and perk up the craft’s overall efficiency. With conventional manufacturing process on board, this thing actually becomes time-consuming and expensive. The ability of 3D printing metals to print low-priced equipment in considerable less time has worked as the major factor boosting the market growth. Also, top-end advancements in technology and rise in penetration of bio-based materials have propelled the market in Southeast Asian countries to a significant extent.

The main benefit of metal 3D printing lies in its constant and unremitting expansion in the range of metallic composites. The fact that these metals enable manufacturers to fabricate parts of any desired mechanical properties has increased their importance to a considerable stretch. Also, with additive manufacturing on board, transition from the designing phase to the production of the final parts is quite faster which, in turn, has proven to be highly beneficial to the manufacturers.

At the same time, considering the metal parts from the perspective of a designer, 3D printing technologies make space for the production of exclusive and distinctive structures. The technology also allows raw materials to be added, shaped, and molded layer by layer. And, they don’t need to be conked out of a bulk compact figure. This makes sure that the material is placed only where it is required and this way, the cost of the materials used to process the relevant components is reduced. This certainly makes metal 3D printing a resource-efficient process. 

With the use of the technology, one can also combine different functions and features into a single printed part, without being least worried about giving rise to any sort of complexities. When they can incorporate new functionalities in, they can also create new channels & lattices to enhance the much-needed lubrication in projects. External surface grains can also be formed to brush up adhesion or to tether to another part.

COVID-19 Scenario

Before the rise of the pandemic, the 3D printing metal market was expected to continue its swatch of substantial growth. In the last few years, revenue has mounted up to a considerable extent, emergence of new entrants have been noticed in the sector, and investments in the technology were also pretty huge from different nooks and corners. But, after the pandemic has broken out, it is anticipated to experience a steep decline in terms of revenue that will, somehow, take years to recoup from.

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SLM Technology Opportunities For Healthcare Applications

SLM Technology Opportunities For Healthcare Applications

Find out why selective laser melting is the ideal production technique to integrate function into medical device components. Article by Gary Tang, SLM Solutions.

Medical device manufacturers are increasingly adopting metal additive manufacturing technology of SLM Solutions—the pioneer and one of the inventors of selective laser melting (SLM) technology—to produce a wide range of medical and dental parts.

In the healthcare sector, SLM technology is used to manufacture functional prototypes for the serial production of surgical implants, to manufacture new designs of instruments and equipment, or utilized for mass customization, i.e. the production of patient-matched implants and prostheses on a large scale. Dental prosthetic components, and orthopaedic, spine and cranio-maxillofacial implants are all common applications of the SLM technology, with clear benefits to patient outcomes. 

Selective laser melting is the ideal production technique to integrate function into medical device components, such as printing surgical implants with lattice structures for enhanced osseointegration and reduced stress shielding. Designs optimized for SLM process, and those custom to patients’ anatomy, often create complex, bionic geometries only able to be manufactured with selective laser melting. The technology thereby provides productivity and cost advantages to users.

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