Japan’s largest company is set to make a major splash in the metal 3D printing market, introducing a metal forming 3D printer in North America later this month.
Called the LUMEX Avance-25, this hybrid laser sintering and milling machine was developed by Mitsubishi’s compatriot company, Matsuura Industries, and until now has only been available in Asia. Used primarily in the die and mold industry, the Avance-25 is the only machine in the world that can produce both molds and parts that require additive manufacturing and high-speed milling.
By leveraging both additive and subtractive manufacturing techniques in a single machine, Matsuura’s Avance-25 can create extremely complex geometries within its 250x250x180mm (9.8x9.8x7in) build volume.
Using an Ytterbium fiber laser, the Avance-25 is said to have the ability to create extremely accurate prints, a major requirement for mass manufacturing and production.
According to Mitsubishi, the Avance-25 will be sold for $845,946 with the company hoping to deliver 10 machines in 2014. Given the high cost of producing complex molds and dies, one can only imagine that Matsuura’s machine will be a hit with manufacturers, likely paying for itself in short order.
With the introduction of the Avance-25, Japanese firms invested in additive manufacturing are trying to gain a foothold in a North American market dominated by the likes of Stratasys and 3D Systems. If the one-stop manufacturing machine can find a market in the States, mold and die manufacturers might have one more option when it comes to advancing the state of their art. In addition, 3D printing might gain a greater recognition as a technology capable of producing durable, end-use parts and move away from the idea that it is only suitable for producing cheap, plastic prototypes.
Image and Video Courtesy of Mitsubishi & Matsuura