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3D Multi-Laser First for Birmingham University

Laser Lines is proud to have secured the first UK sale of a SLM Solutions Metal 3D printer, which features a multi-laser.

University of Birmingham logo

The University of Birmingham was looking for a fast, large yet compact machine that could play a pivotal part in their £80million Quantum Technologies programme, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

AMPLab (The Advanced Materials and Processing Laboratory), headed up by Professor Moataz Attallah, is constantly developing new manufacturing technologies for advanced materials and wanted a machine that could speed up their metal AM process and allow them the flexibility to test and trial more complex materials. The fact that our SLM 500 HL is the fastest multi-laser system on the market for metals was key in their decision.

SLM 500 HL | Fast 4-Laser 3D PrinterThis machine uses four lasers to speed up the manufacturing process, and will improve our lead times up to five times faster. Thanks to Laser Lines, and following the tender outcome, we were able to better understand the uniqueness of the system and the feedback was very good.

We liked the fact it is an open source machine which will give us control over all the parameters, such as laser scan speed and layer thickness, and the machine will also have significantly lower running costs because of its low consumption of Argon gas.Professor Moataz Attallah

The University currently has another selective melting laser melting system but required a more advanced machine for the Quantum Technologies programme. Together with a consortium of six universities, the aim is to develop quantum sensors that will be able to measure from space, areas that have strong rotation, gravity and magnetic fields. By identifying these high-density hotspots, applications can then be developed to pinpoint the underground location of everything from oil and gold to leaking pipes and detecting sinkholes.

At this stage Professor Moataz Attallah and his research team will be using the SLM 500 HL to 3D print complex materials for the enclosures that will be able to hold the quantum sensors at temperatures just a few billionths of a degree above absolute zero. The project’s ultimate goal is to develop a Quantum Technology Valley, similar to California’s Silicon Valley, in the Midlands where companies can make quantum devices that will be commercially superior to current devices.

To make a quantum sensor we need materials with a very low term expansion. The only way to make these sensors is to have a chamber that can hold the sensor and the SLM 500 HL will let us shape the complex materials needed for that chamber. It’s a very exciting project but one that we expect will be a nucleus for other projects too. More and more sectors are realising the gains to be made from AM and our research in complex materials with this machine will bring us closer to realising the possibilities.

Ralph Wilkin, Managing Director at Laser Lines, says machines like the SLM 500 HL are opening up 3D printing to more and more sectors.

We are coming into an age of design for functionality. Engineers no longer have to ask what is the best way to manufacture the product, instead with AM they can design components purely for function. We are thrilled to have helped Moataz and his team get the right machine for the job.

Find out how you can transform your metal manufacturing processes with the The Faster 3D Metal Printer

Or for more information ring the Laser Lines team today on 01295 672 599.

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