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Hull-Core Build Strategy for Rapid Manufacturing

A new multi-laser printing technology for metals is transforming the additive manufacturing market.

Hull-Core Build Strategy, developed by our 3D printing partners SLM Solutions GmbH enables an almost sixfold increase in build rate by using up to four lasers in their flagship SLM 500HL system.

By using multiple lasers (4x400W) or dual lasers (2x400W and 2x1KW) the SLM systems allow manufacturers to greatly increase build speed and productivity – helping to slash production times and costs.

The powerful 1KW laser can melt multiple layers of metal powder used for the Core sections and infills while a 400W laser can create the outer shell of the layer for fine detailing and contouring around the edges, the Hull. This new approach means manufacturers are able to save melting time in the whole build significantly.

Mark Tyrtania, from Laser Lines, says Hull-Core Build strategy is unique to SLM printers.

This technology uses highly complex mathematical algorithms to ensure that the multiple beams do not cross and that the soot created from one laser does not interfere with the beam of another.

With the dual set up, you are either using the 2x400W or the 2x1KW, but with the multiple 4x400W setup all four lasers can be working at the same time, maximising throughput of the system.

The multiple lasers can be used independently, but also simultaneously and in parallel to one another. Which means you can be building lots of multiple parts at the same time in the build envelope, (using the front and back of the chamber) or you could have multiple lasers working simultaneously on the same large part.

It is a unique approach that allows the rapid manufacture of complex parts. We are able to get calculated build speeds of above 70ccm per hour. No other company has yet managed to get a product on the market that can do this and we are thrilled to be bringing this technology to the UK market.

New design possibilities

Birmingham University recently purchased the SLM 500HL, currently the lightest, fastest and most compact 3D metal additive manufacturing machine on the market. This machine features 2x400W and 2x1KW lasers.

Professor Moataz Attallah, who heads up the university research team, said: “This machine uses four lasers to speed up the manufacturing process, and it will improve our lead times up to five times faster.”

Multi-laser technology opens up a whole world of design possibilities. Not only does this technology allow manufacturers to produce so-called ‘impossible parts’ that are lighter and more internally complex but it also allows them to do this in a fraction of the time.

We are seeing a lot of interest in the technology, from universities through to Formula 1 research teams.

This is a major technology breakthrough that is revolutionising the manufacturing industry.

Mark Tyrtania

Read more about how Birmingham University is developing and 3D printing complex materials in metal using our SLM 500HL machine.

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