How SLM Solutions’ metal 3D printers save money and time
Richard Hoy explains how this market-leading range of metal 3D printers is transforming metal manufacturing.
With the fastest compact metal printing machine in the industry just one of many options available to customers, SLM Solutions’ range of Direct Metal Machines is stealing a march on the competition in the UK. Using selective laser melting technology, SLM Solutions 3D printers manufacture precise parts from a range of metal powders.
Open source flexibility
The range differs from others on the market in that it uses very flexible software, providing users with the ability to use their own powders to manufacture parts. So alongside titanium, aluminium, cobolt chrome, stainless steel and tool steel, customers can use the most appropriate powder for their business need.
This freedom to easily change the machine build parameters is very appealing for research and academic in particular, as it affords the flexibility that research often requires.
With a strong, blue chip customer base, SLM Solutions machines are found across industries such as aerospace, automotive and healthcare, which are taking full advantage of the benefits of manufacturing parts via this method.
The main benefit of using an SLM Solutions machine for metal manufacture is the weight difference. The normal rules of design don’t apply, meaning that complex lattices or self-supporting elements, both of which are impossible to manufacture using traditional methods, are now an option.
This results in more lightweight parts, making them perfect for use in the aerospace industry, where one of the primary objectives is to reduce weight. When it comes to aircraft design, for example, this method of manufacturing generates businesses substantial savings.
With patented, multi-laser tech systems, SLM Solutions systems can build with up to four lasers simultaneously, producing 110cm³ an hour in aluminium. The ability to manufacture an aluminium engine block or parts for hip replacements quickly and with minimum wastage guarantees efficiency savings for businesses.
It is a very robust process too, ensuring all parts produced are repeatable. Near-100% density is often vital here, with anything less unacceptable, also something that is easily achieved with SLM Solutions’ machines.
In combination with Laser Lines’ many years of experience in rapid prototyping, not to mention laser experience across many different sectors, SLM Solutions is continuing to make its mark in the UK.
Businesses might have been wary of using metal powders in the past, but when the freedom of design, minimal waste and weight savings to be made are taken into account, it’s not difficult to see why these products are rapidly taking their rightful place in industry.