apworks-airbus-logoWell, it’s official—but certainly this won’t be the last you hear of APWorks and the new mega MetalFAB1 system, which they are now formally in receipt of. This impending beta testing phase for Additive Industries, headquartered in the Netherlands, is one we’ve been following as they’ve steadily been building a foundation program for trials, now to include not only Airbus Group subsidiary APWorks, but also the Dutch Kaak Group and United Grinding Group.

Now, APWorks will begin testing both this large, integrated system and its corresponding software platform, Additive World, for series production of their industrial parts intended for their customers in some of the following areas:

  • Robotics
  • Mechanical engineering
  • Automotive
  • Medical technology
  • Aerospace

logoAdditiveIndustriesWhile participating in this comprehensive beta testing phase, the Airbus Group subsidiary will be responsible for completely evaluating both operating processes and applications for the MetalFAB1, with the end result being validation and certification of the processes for its most critical parts.

“Today we are taking an important leap forward in industrializing metal additive manufacturing technology. This will substantially improve part reproducibility and reduce the total cost of 3D printed parts,” said Joachim Zettler, Managing Director of APWorks.

The MetalFAB1, a powder bed metal (SLM-based) 3D printer is an advanced system promising greater reproducibility and efficiency for high-end clients with serious industrial requirements. Users are promised higher productivity because of the multiple lasers, as well as integrated systems and tenfold reproducibility. The printer also offers stress relief heat treatment, and both automated build plate handling and storage are integrated into this one production system, which is a veritable factory in itself. Customers attracted to using the MetalFAB tend to be involved in design and produce high-end equipment (OEM, B2B) or other capital investment goods.

“For additive industries this first shipment is an important milestone,” said Daan Kersten, co-founder and CEO of Additive Industries. “Following the smooth installation and successful completion of the site acceptance tests at APWorks, we can now start our beta test phase as a preliminary step to ramping up for series production of the MetalFAB1 system.”

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MetalFAB1 Beta System Specifications* are as follow.

“The MetalFAB1 Beta test system specifications are founded on a comprehensive and detailed system design process,” states Additive Industries on their website. “Part of the Beta program is to verify and validate the specifications jointly with our Beta customers in different application environments. Depending on the verification results the final specifications may change.”

  • Net build envelope: 420 x 420 x 400 [mm]
  • Laser type: Yb fibre laser, 400 [W] (future 1 [kW] possible)
  • # of lasers: maximum of 4 (full field) (2 during Beta Programme)
  • Process chamber O2 level: 100 [ppm]BT
  • Accuracy: < +/- 0.050 + 0.0002 x Part Length [mm]BT
  • Part reproducibility: < +/- 0.050 [mm] (3σ)BT
  • Overlay accuracy (using real-time compensation): < 5 [µm]BT
  • Layer thickness: 20-100 [µm]
  • Powder feed and handling: Automated per build chamber
  • Minimum autonomous multi-job operation: 112 [hrs]BT
  • Storage positions empty build plates: 8
  • Finished jobs: 2-4 (depending on build height)
  • Heat treatment maximum temperature: 1100 [°C]BT
  • Heat treatment O2 level: 100 [ppm]BT
  • Job preparation: Off line
  • Remote access & monitoring: Yes, through Additive World Platform

* Specifications may change

Additive Industries is known for taking 3D printed metal, functional parts from ‘lab to fab’ with their modular systems, accompanied by integrated platforms meant for relevant and often demanding industrial markets such as aerospace, automotive, medical technology, and more. Their goal is to see clients in all markets experience greater productivity and flexibility.

APWorks is a 100% subsidiary of the Airbus Group. The goal of the company is to make aerospace technology accessible to numerous industries, offering metallic 3D printing for ‘the entire value chain.’ APWorks serves customers within industries from robotics to medical, offering shorter turnaround times in production, along with more lightweight products, resulting in less use of materials. Along with 3D printing, they also market innovative projects and technologies from Airbus Group Innovations. What do you think of this beta testing phase and the foundation they have laid with several partners? Discuss in the APWorks To Start Beta Testing MetalFAB1 3D Printing System forum over at 3DPB.com.

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