When we think about industrial-grade 3D printing technology, most Western-based minds will wander to the machines developed by companies like Stratasys, 3D Systems, and EOS. But, out in China, the 3D printer manufacturer Zhuhai CTC Electronic is making a major push towards the professional additive manufacturing market, and has quickly become the country’s leading 3D printing technology manufacturer. At the start of the year, Zhuhai CTC unveiled the Riverbase 500, an industrial SLA (stereolithography) 3D printer equipped with laser galvanometer scanning technology.
The Riverbase may be the company’s first-ever industrial 3D printer, but it certainly isn’t their last. Shortly after, Zhuhai CTC released their line of Walnut SLM (Selective Laser Melting) 3D printers, which utilizes an infrared high-energy fiber laser and a SCANLAB high-precision scanning galvanometer to print solid parts from metal powders. This line of metal 3D printers were actually the first of their kind to be developed in and for China’s industrial 3D printing market. In order to keep China’s 3D printing scene up to speed with their major developments, Zhuhai CTC will host a press conference in Dongguan, Guangdong province, China on August 28.
The conference, “Wind from Southern China — Press Conference for a Series of CTC Industrial 3D Printers”, will serve as the official launchpad for their new industrial products, including the Riverbase 400/500/600 and Walnut 11/18/26 3D printer lines. During the conference, Zhuhai CTC will detail both of their latest 3D printing technologies. At the press conference, Zhuhai CTC will primarily focus on their SLM technology, delving into the specifications that make the printer one of the most advanced in all of China. Along with the announcement of the press conference, Zhuhai CTC has also unveiled a number of the features that have been implemented into their SLM technology.
For starters, their SLM technology is capable of meeting all technical requirements of an industrial 3D printing system, with a size precision reaching 20-50 micrometers and a surface roughness of about 20-30 micrometers. The technology is ideal for producing molds and dies, and will be especially useful in the automobile, aerospace, and pharmaceutical industries. When producing parts, the SLM printer utilizes a scanner to ensure that the finished product has the optimal compactness and tensile strength, which is done by weaving together the surface with a multitude of single scan lines. Zhuhai CTC has been developing scanning paths and overlay solutions for a wide range of metal-based materials, including titanium alloy, aluminum alloy, iron. and nickel.
Zhuhai CTC has also integrated energy input control into their Walnut 3D printer line, enabling users to set the optimal parameters for a number of different materials, which were developed through conducting over 10,000 tests. The SLM technology also utilizes a fill-in scanning approach, providing a positive impact on the compactness of SLM molded parts, prototyping efficiency, and the reduction of internal residual stress. The printers will provide different scanning velocities for the outline, internal layer, and core of the part, which will help the user achieve optimal compactness and high surface quality.
In addition to these highly optimized features, Zhuhai CTC’s SLM printer will also monitor the oxygen content and temperature inside of the printing chamber, which will help enhance the smoothness of the print and the safety of the printing equipment. An embedded operating system will automatically control air filtration velocity, as well as an inert gas filing switch, which will ensure that the chamber’s oxygen content meets the requirement for each type of material. Lastly, in order to solve the imperfection of molding certain geometric features, such as thin plates and sharp corners, Zhuhai CTC will also provide a proprietary support generation software engineered to alleviate the issue.
Thus far, the specs that have been presented by Zhuhai CTC should have the entirety of China’s industrial sector excited. Their SLM technology seems to focus on optimization, as each unveiled feature seems to be developed in order to create the highest quality and most compact metal prototype possible. On August 28, during “Wind from Southern China — Press Conference for a Series of CTC Industrial 3D Printers”, Zhuhai will officially take the torch as China’s premier industrial 3D printing manufacturer. But, until then, the industrial sector in China and around the world have plenty to be excited about with Zhuhai’s SLM technology. Discuss further in the CTC 3D Printer Press Conference forum over at 3DPB.com.