VIDEO: Two Lasers Nearly Double Speed of Metal Printing
Ian Wright posted on December 07, 2017 | 622 views

One of the main downsides cited for additive manufacturing is the low speed. No matter the process, whether it’s fused material deposition, stereolithography, or selective laser sintering, slicing an object into hundreds or even thousands of layers and depositing material one tiny voxel at a time is just not a quick process.

However, industry innovators are understandably looking for ways to kick it up a notch. We spoke to TRUMPF at an industry event in Barcelona recently, and they told us about how their customers wanted more speed, and how they delivered: add more lasers.

According to Viola Erlenmaier of TRUMPF Maquinaria, “The advantage of the TruPrint1000 multilaser machine is that it speeds up the whole process of 3D printing because it has, as the name suggests, several lasers. In this case, it’s two lasers working on one part at the same time, so we can have the part ready a lot faster than with the standard model.”

Jon de Andres Bilbao, sales engineer at TRUMPF Maquinaria, agrees. “Not twice as fast, but almost. This is something customers appreciate because the customers are requesting speed. They want to have the process done faster, so we’re working very intensively on the development of this multilaser option.”

This machine can print in powdered aluminum and titanium, as well as different alloys of steel. However, only one material can be printed per machine, to avoid powder contamination.  

The build volume is a 100mm diameter cylinder. TRUMPF offers other machine models like the TruPrint 3000, with a build volume of a 300mm diameter cylinder, 400mm in height.

Metal SLS at this size is useful in the medical and dental industries, as well as prototypes for aerospace and automotive. We asked if multilaser options are the future of metal additive in these industries:

 “Especially for the bigger format machines, we are now working with the TruPrint 5000. This allows you to automate the process so that it’s apt for mass production. The development is going in this direction of making the process more automated,” said Erlenmaier, “The 1000 is more for prototyping, but with larger format and multilaser, that’s the aim for cost-efficient new possibilities for mass production.”

It’s always interesting to see how additive manufacturing is evolving before our eyes. For more on additive innovation in Barcelona, check out Could Barcelona Become the World’s Additive Manufacturing Hub?

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