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Metal 3D Printing – A Lighter Way To Design

Need an alloy part? Want it lighter with less wastage? Need it fast?

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Additive manufacturing is transforming metal manufacturing processes and making significant cost and design savings, especially within the aerospace, automobile and medical industries.

Metal 3d printing scores when you have highly complex parts with complicated geometry and relatively low batch numbers. That is its sweet spot.

Additive manufacturing is the holy grail for many of these industries. In aerospace and Formula 1 the number one priority is to drive costs out of their manufacturing processes. With additive manufacturing they can create parts that previously could not be made with traditional tooling methods. They can design them to be lighter by accumulating material only where it is needed, and because of this, you can build up a three-dimensional part, layer-by-layer without creating tonnes of swarf.Mark Tyrtania, Laser Lines

Metal Additive Manufacturing (AM) or Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) works by firing a laser at a bed of metal powder and selectively melting the fine layers to produce highly accurate parts, directly from 3D CAD data.

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DMLS is currently being used by Airbus, the world’s leading aircraft manufacturer, to produce 3D printed aircraft parts that are significantly lighter. By designing completely new structures, Airbus says it is printing parts that are 30 percent lighter than conventional designs realised using casting or milling processes, shortening production time by 75 percent and in some cases reducing recyclable waste from 95 percent to just 5 percent[1].

The advantages to be gained from this technology are highly desirable for many of our customers. We are seeing a lot of interest from companies and universities wanting to develop more and more applications.

Read our interview with Stefan Ritt from SLM Solutions on the innovations behind the fastest metal 3D printer on the market today – the SLM 500HL.

Laser Lines offers selective laser melting systems through our printing partner SLM Solutions GmbH – a leading provider of metal based AM technology. To find out more contact Mark and his team on 01295 672 500.

[1]Peter Sander, Head of Emerging Technologies & Concepts, Airbus, Hamburg speaking at a recent panel discussion on 3D printing with metals in aircraft manufacturing. TCT+Personalize

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