3D metal printing enables the design and manufacture of a new generation of high-performance products without the constraints imposed by traditional production technologies. The goal must be to develop products with completely superior performance and to gain a competitive advantage by taking advantage of the tremendous opportunities of breakthrough technology. 3D printing will radically revolutionize global engineering and related material flows over the next decade.
Take over technology
Vossi exclusively represents the 3D printers of metals from the German listed company SLM Solutions GmbH, the technology leader in the field. We help our customers take advantage of this revolutionary technology and gain a competitive edge with the new generation of products.
Serial production of strong products
SLM Solutions’ equipment is excellently suited for series production of strong products as well as flexible subcontracting. The print speed of the devices is the fastest on the market thanks to the four laser heads and the powder application in both directions. In addition, rapid switching from one material to another brings flexibility to manufacturing.
Metalworking can be roughly divided into three categories: material forming, removing, and adding methods, the last of which classifies 3D printing. In the powder bed technology utilized by SLM Solution, the metal powder is melted in the precisely controlled inert shielding gas environment of the printing chamber by means of a laser beam layer by layer into a piece in accordance with the 3D CAD model. SLM Solutions is a technology pioneer and is able to utilize as many as four laser heads that melt powder simultaneously. In this case, it is possible to print either one large piece or even a thousand small individual pieces that can fit on the culture medium. In addition, the metal powder is also applied in two directions. As printable materials, e.g. stainless and tool steel as well as cobalt-chromium, super, titanium and aluminum alloys.
3D printing has tremendous potential and the technology available is now mature enough for its wider application in the metal industry. For example
General Electric has said it will manufacture more than 100,000 parts for its new GE9X motors by 3D printing by 2020 and invest a huge $ 3.5 billion in this latest generation production technology. One of the company’s tremendous achievements has been in the manufacture of the new fuel injector. Previously, the fuel injector consisted of 20 separate parts and now with 3D printing only one, which is created by a single print. In addition, traditional manufacturing technologies would require 60-70 machine tools to produce an annual volume of 85,000 pieces of the product. The start-up and control of production would also be considerably more complicated.
3D printing offers completely unique benefits. Ability to create optimal structures that were previously not possible to fabricate. However, the printing cost does not increase as the complexity of the product increases, but only the spent powder material and the machine time used incur costs. The pieces can be made extremely light, for example, because the material can only be used where it is needed due to the load properties. This will make it possible, for example, to significantly increase the energy efficiency of the automotive industry. The most critical part of exploiting the potential of 3D printing is to make product designers understand the potential of new technology in terms of product functionality and manufacturability. In addition, product development and production start-up can be radically accelerated when changes are immediately brought to the product and no tools, many work steps and methods are needed. Customization of products is also easy and inexpensive, as several products can be manufactured on the culture medium at the same time and each of them can be different.
Logistics flows are changing
3D printing also brings manufacturing closer to the end customer, when only powder materials are transported instead of finished products. This will have a significant impact on the external and internal logistics of companies. In addition, the resource efficiency of manufacturing increases when material is not wasted, for example in the form of chips or waste pieces, but unused metal powder can be cleaned in the filter equipment of 3D printers and reused in the process. “We encourage our customers to open their minds and open-mindedly consider the potential of this latest generation of technology for their own and their customers’ products and productions. It is worth contacting us so that we can harness the possibilities of 3D printing for your competitiveness, ”encourages Marko Vossi, Business Development Director.
Falk Heilfort – Entwicklung Antrieb, Porsche AG
3D metal printing of the Bugatti Chiro Titanium Brake Caliper.
SLM Solutions 500HL is the only real series production 3D printer for metal products on the market.
Video of FIT AG's new generation cylinder head development project.
Renault Trucks' new generation 3D metal printing engine.