Last year Additive Industries announced a new beta program for their automated MetalFAB1 industrial metal 3D printing system. The MetalFAB1 system is an interconnected group of powder-based metal 3D printing modules that offer a large build volume, high print detail and an automated handling system. The Netherlands-based 3D printing technology development company built four of their modular additive manufacturing units for beta testing and continued development, each being used within the aerospace, high-tech and tooling industries. The four available units went quickly, and as the testing continued successfully the company began regularly receiving inquiries about the system’s future availability for different applications.
At this year’s RAPID 2016 additive manufacturing conference in Orlando, Florida, Additive Industries announced that they have re-opened their MetalFAB1 beta program for precision automotive component manufacturer GKN Powder Metallurgy. The new system was developed to be fully compliant with ISO/TS 16949 standards, and offers significantly higher productivity than previous iterations. Additive Industries and GKN worked closely to build, test and qualify their first modular industrial metal 3D printing system for use in the highly regulated automotive component manufacturing market.
“For Additive Industries the input from an automotive leader like GKN is a beautiful addition to the other Beta customers from the aerospace and high tech equipment markets. Their unconditional focus on predictability and total cost is an important driver for further integration and optimisation,” explained Additive Industries’ Co-Founder and CEO, Daan Kersten.
The MetalFAB1 is the first fully integrated and automated metal additive manufacturing system with expandable modular architecture. Once the full system is made available, users will have the option of starting with a basic module configuration and have the option to add new modules and functionality as needed. By adding additional modules, the MetalFAB1 system is capable of using multiple materials in a single machine without needing to clean the powder system, which is time consuming and can often lead to material cross-contamination.
Additive Industries’ robot-controlled automated handling system reduces manual labor, improves final product quality and offers improved operator safety. The metal 3D printing system uses a powder bed fusion process that is capable of using up to four individual ytterbium-powered, 400 watt fibre lasers. The MetalFAB1 also includes integrated stress relief heat treatment systems, automated build plate handling and storage for up to eight powder-filled printing beds in a single, self-contained industrial grade production system. It includes a net build volume of 420 x 420 x 400 mm (16.5 x 16.5 x 15.7 inches) with a layer thickness of 20 to 100 µm.
Here is some video of the MetalFAB1 industrial metal 3D printing system in action:
The MetalFAB1 Beta test system was launched by Additive Industries in order to verify and validate the systems specifications jointly with their Beta customers, each using the systems in different applications and environments. Part of the development process is gaining feedback from their Beta customers to further refine and improve the final MetalFAB1 industrial metal 3D printing system. Currently Additive Industries says that the system offers ten times the reproducibility, flexibility and productivity of standard, mid-range metal 3D printing systems. You can learn more about Additive Industries and their MetalFAB1 on their website. Discuss this technology further over in the MetalFAB1 industrial metal 3D printing system forum over on 3DPB.com.