New Technology from 3D Printing Companies Is Unveiled at Formnext 2021

This year’s Formnext trade fair featured the latest additive manufacturing solutions from over 600 exhibitors.

The recent Formnext global trade fair showcased the latest developments in additive manufacturing (AM) and industrial 3D printing. The event was held in Frankfurt, Germany, from November 16-19, and featured 600 exhibitors from around the world. This was Formnext’s first on-site, face-to-face international meeting since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wayland Additive’s Calibur3 and NeuBeam Technology

Wayland Additive’s Calibur3 metal AM machine with NeuBeam technology. (Image courtesy of Wayland Additive.)

Wayland Additive’s Calibur3 metal AM machine with NeuBeam technology. (Image courtesy of Wayland Additive.)

Additive process developer Wayland Additive unveiled its all-new Calibur3 metal AM machine at Formnext. The machine was initially launched in March and was developed with Wayland Additive’s innovative NeuBeam metal electron beam powder bed fusion (PBF-EB) technology. NeuBeam is designed to address the limitations of PBF processes and allow metal AM machines to 3D print metal parts that have proved challenging to produce until today. According to the company, the NeuBeam process should provide manufacturers with access to metal AM production alternatives that have better stability, flexibility and metallurgy.

The technology functions by neutralizing the PBF-EB process, which provides improved flexibility compared to most laser-based AM processes. The main challenge surrounding PBF-EB technology is its unstable nature. The NeuBeam process addresses this by resolving charging issues that typically restrict PBF-EB processes by replacing them with the fully neutralized NeuBeam process. According to Wayland Additive, metallurgical properties can also be customized according to application requirements to produce more optimized results.

The NeuBeam has also done away with the hot powder bed process, utilizing instead a hot part process. This means that high temperatures are only applied to the part itself, enabling the Calibur3 to produce parts that are free of residual stress. This allows for free-flowing powder post-build (no sinter cake) and stress-free parts with reduced energy consumption. Manufacturers can then leverage more flexible part geometries while simultaneously reducing costs and eliminating some post-processing steps.

Traditional PBF-EB processes also often experience downstream complexities that can involve expensive and time-consuming part removal and post-processing. These can significantly limit the kind of materials that can be used in metal AM. Through the NeuBeam process, it can utilize a more extensive array of metal materials, which includes refractory metals. Wayland Additive is hoping that this will open up more application development for various materials in metal AM.

For more information on the NeuBeam process, visit Wayland Additive’s website.

AM Solutions’ S1 Wet, S2 and C2 Systems

The all-new S1 Wet System. (Image courtesy of AM Solutions.)

The all-new S1 Wet System. (Image courtesy of AM Solutions.)

Frankfurt-based 3D printing solutions developer AM Solutions introduced three new machines at this year’s Formnext. These systems are intended for the volume production of 3D-printed components that are made from metal and plastic. According to the company, the increased adoption of AM in the volume production of standard components also requires enhanced quality, consistency and cost-efficiency in the post-processing and surface refinement of 3D-printed components.

The new S1 Wet was specifically developed for post-processing 3D-printed components produced from metal. It is designed to remove residual powder through the wet process. It can also perform surface homogenization and the smoothening of metallic 3D components thanks to the machine’s compact plug and play system. This ensures that small particles removed from the workpieces, dust and shavings do not form a combustible or explosive mixture. As a result, components will no longer require the installation of protective ATEX accessories. Instead, the water layer created on the surface will be responsible for preventing abrasive media inclusions.

Meanwhile, the S2 system is the first shot blast machine that is intended for treating 3D-printed components produced from polymers in indexing, continuous flow mode. According to AM Solutions, the machine is a product of the demand for efficient post-processing that generates repeatable results. When workpieces are loaded into the S2, they are passed through a special troughed belt in a single-piece flow that enables the complete removal of residual powder. The system can also be set to make the component’s surface homogenized or peened. The machine has an integrated cleaning and recycling system that enables clean and repeatable results.

Finally, the highly anticipated C2 system will allow for chemical surface smoothing and color dye application under a single machine. The C2 was only presented at Formnext as a concept solution. According to the company, the system was designed to provide an automated chemical surface smoothing solution for 3D components made of common polymers and elastomers in series. The machine is currently pending patent application.

For more information on AM Solutions’ latest lineup, visit the company’s website.

AIM3D’s ExAM 510 3D Pellet Printer

The ExAM 510 3D printer. (Image courtesy of AIM3D.)

The ExAM 510 3D printer. (Image courtesy of AIM3D.)

Multi-material 3D printer manufacturer AIM3D displayed its powerful new ExAM 510 3D printer. The ExAM 510 is specifically designed for the composite extrusion modeling (CEM) process. It features a larger build area, increased precision, as well as faster build rates compared to the company’s previous ExAM 255 model. According to AIM3D, the new machine can print up to three different materials in parallel. The model was only unveiled as a prototype at Formnext. The company intends to begin series production by Formnext 2022.

The ExAM 510 was developed from the smaller ExAM 255 3D printer. The build platform was extended to 510 x 510 x 400 mm to accommodate a wider variety of applications. This build area can be heated up to 200ºC to process high-performance materials while simultaneously preventing stress in the component. The machine also offers an increased build rate. Depending on the kind of material used, the ExAM 510 can have a build rate of up to 250 cm³/h when using a 0.4 mm nozzle. This is expected to enable outputs that are up to 10 times higher compared to standard filament extruders.

One of the key features of the ExAM 510 is its ability to use an extensive range of materials. The machine is equipped with a heated process chamber that is specially designed for high-temperature plastics. This allows it to process high-temperature plastics such as PEEK, PEI, PSU, and PPS, with or without the need for fiber filling. Users can then process plastics directly in pellet form in additive manufacturing. According to AIM3D, a material can be tested within 1 to 2 working days and prepared for production in 5 to 10 working days. This results in more cost-effective use of raw materials.

For more information on the ExAM 510, visit AIM3D’s website.

Ricoh’s Binder Jet Metal 3D Printer

Metal parts formed by Ricoh’s Binder Jet Metal 3D Printer. (Image courtesy of Ricoh.)

Metal parts formed by Ricoh’s Binder Jet Metal 3D Printer. (Image courtesy of Ricoh.)

3D printing and additive manufacturing solutions provider Ricoh showcased its latest Binder Jet Metal 3D printer at this year’s Formnext. The machine features the company’s industrial inkjet printhead technology that is capable of supporting aluminum alloy for end-use metal parts production using 3D printing. According to the company, the innovative proprietary technology can produce aluminum parts in intricate shapes and narrow tubes. This can potentially improve energy use efficiency by reducing part weight while simultaneously improving heat dissipation.

Binder jet technology is currently one of the fastest and most cost-effective AM methods that use metal powders as a material. It functions by injecting a liquid bonding agent that solidifies the powder layer by layer via the inkjet head. Aluminum alloys are already widely utilized for metal parts. However, limitations still exist in the range of their application and use. The introduction of Ricoh’s machine will allow for the production of end-use metal parts that can replace heat-dissipating components. The company is currently hosting co-creation activities alongside customers to bring the solution to market.

For more information on the new Binder Jet Metal 3D printer, visit Ricoh’s website.

Essentium’s HSE 240 HT Dual Extruder 3D Printer

The Essentium HSE 240 HT 3D Printer. (Image courtesy of Essentium.)

The Essentium HSE 240 HT 3D Printer. (Image courtesy of Essentium.)

Industrial additive manufacturing solutions developer Essentium debuted its latest 3D printing platform, the Essentium High Speed Extrusion (HSE) 240 HT Dual Extruder 3D Printer, at this year’s Formnext. It is the latest addition to the Essentium HSE portfolio. According to the company, the printer was designed to optimize the performance, reliability and efficiency of the parts production process while still maintaining a small environmental footprint.

The HSE 240 3D printer has dimensions of 1168 x 795 x 1687 mm, making it compact enough to fit in small and medium-sized factory spaces as well as university labs. It now sports a new industrial design that includes a single dual extrusion printhead that has two extruders on one printhead. The machine features automatic filament switching, which can reduce downtime during 3D printing operations. This means that users can now run longer print jobs to maximize print time while saving on material costs. The machine offers three print modes: Single Extruder Mode, Support Mode, and Multi-Process Mode.

Single Extruder Mode is ideal for printing single parts, while Support Mode is mainly for printing support for parts that are in progress. Meanwhile, Multi-Process Mode is for printing two materials or two heated nozzle sizes. According to Essentium, the HSE 240 HT 3D printer is an open material platform, providing customers with maximum flexibility in material printing options. This also means that users will have more freedom to design and innovate parts.

For more information on the HSE 240 HT Dual Extruder 3D Printer, visit Essentium’s website.

For more information on this year’s exhibitors, visit Formnext’s website.