SPEE3D, a 3D printing startup company from Melbourne, Australia, recently announced the global launch of its industrial metal 3D printer they’re calling the LightSPEE3D. It’s the world’s first metal 3D printer that introduces supersonic 3D deposition (SP3D) technology and offers manufacturing-grade 3D printing with fast production speeds. The LightSPEE3D is designed for scalable and on-demand production and measures print speed in units of minutes as compared to a number of hours or days found with most industry standard machines.
SPEE3D is focused on making additive manufacturing easier. High cost of machines, slow print speeds, and inconsistency of industrial 3D printers are all problems the manufacturing industry faces – and a main reason why some companies are slow to adopt the technology. SPEE3D sets out to solve those key challenges by leveraging the company’s patented technology, which produces versatile casting grade parts at a fraction of the cost and time. The LightSPEE3D printer is capable of manufacturing parts in low or high volume quantities and at speeds said to be 100 to 1,000 times faster than traditional metal 3D printers (not including post-processing times).
Byron Kennedy, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of SPEE3D, talks about why he launched the company and how their technology will add value to customers:
“SPEE3D was started after I experienced the slow pace and lack of rigor in the high cost, traditional metal 3D printing industry. In the past, users had to wait hours or even days to have a standard part delivered to them. Now, SPEE3D can print these same parts in mere minutes, on-site and in real time. This enables the accessibility of just in time production – allowing manufacturers the choice and flexibility of printing 10,000 parts or just a single part with ease.”
SPEE3D plans to target manufacturers that work with aluminum and copper castings as early adopters of the technology. It would allow casting companies to rapidly produce low-cost metal parts without the need for expensive manufacturing tools that can take months to produce. According to Modern Casting and Markets and Markets, the global casting market was valued at almost $200 billion in 2015 and in 2017 $56 billion was focused specifically on aluminum parts. With their 3D printers available to a global market, SPEE3D is focused on helping manufacturers print parts that are fast, affordable, and tailored to their needs.
The driving force behind the LightSPEE3D printer is a patented technology called supersonic 3D deposition, which produces industrial grade metal and high-density parts. Unlike traditional metal 3D printers that use high energy lasers to melt powder together in a process called Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), SPEE3D’s supersonic deposition uses a rocket nozzle to accelerate air up to three times the speed of sound to produce their parts.
SPEE3D’s SP3D technology stems from Direct Metal Deposition (DMD), a 3D printing process that uses a laser to melt metallic powder. Instead of creating a part in a powder bed like in laser sintering technologies, DMD uses a feed nozzle to propel metal powder into the laser beam. It can be compared to Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) as the nozzle can move to selectively deposit the fused metal.
Charles Darwin University is currently using SPEE3D’s metal 3D printer to research new ways to use the innovative technology in remote areas – such as improving supply chains and lowering operating costs. In early July 2017, the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory in Australia, Mr. Michael Gunner and Vice-Chancellor Professor Simon Maddocks announced a AUD$400,000 NT Government grant for the purchase of the LightSPEE3D Printer from Darwin innovative start-up company SPEE3D. The 3D printer is located at the center of a new industrial research hub called the Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (AMA).
“Being the first organization to install and run SPEE3D’s technology positions Charles Darwin University at the forefront of advanced manufacturing,” said Rebecca Murray, Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Alliance (AMA) at CDU. “SPEE3D and CDU have developed a strong partnership with the AMA, which is a unique university-industry-trade partnership with the goals to develop real world applications, create procedures and standards, and drive material development.”
SPEE3D will travel to formnext in Germany from November 14-17 to showcase the LightSPEE3D metal 3D printer; 3DPrint.com will be on the scene in Frankfurt to see the latest in 3D printing technologies. There are also near-term plans to install LightSPEE3D printers for demonstration in Frankfurt, Michigan, and Sydney.
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