In 2015, Dutch company Additive Industries officially introduced its industrial MetalFAB1 3D printing system. Beta testing for the machine began not long after, and since then the production-based metal powder bed fusion system has been purchased by a variety of customers, from machine suppliers to automotive and racing companies. But now, Additive Industries North America is announcing that a prestigious California-based aerospace company has purchased six of its MetalFAB1 3D printers.
Once this large order arrives at the unnamed customer’s site later this year, the total installed base of these large-scale metal 3D printers will be expanded to a grand total of ten – and more installations could be coming in 2020 as well. This order confirms the growing market for Additive Industries’ industrial series production, as well as validates its “concept of production-based metal powder bed fusion systems for maximum overall equipment efficiency.”
“The fast growth in North America is partly due to our focus on the aerospace sector and the aeronautics adoption curve for production additive manufacturing,” said Daan Kersten, the CEO of Additive Industries. “We expect this growth to further accelerate when our customers publicly release their applications and more companies are able to visualize the large, complex parts that can be manufactured on the MetalFAB1 system in titanium, aluminium, steel and nickel based alloys.”
Additive Industries created a modular end-to-end 3D printing system in its automated MetalFAB1. With a build envelope of 420 x 420 x 400 mm, it features multiple build chambers, one to four 500W lasers, and can be configured for up to 11 different modules for more productivity or post-processing automation.
In terms of powder handling, the system has automated extraction, sieving and recycling during the build cycle, and supports all Metal Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (LB-PBF) materials, including Ti6Al4V and Scalmalloy. The 3D printer’s quality control comes from Sigma Labs’ PrintRite 3D process monitoring solution, and it also features a continuous video feed through Additive World Platform for remote monitoring.
In June, this aerospace customer was able to use its four current MetalFAB1 systems to consolidate approximately 700 kilograms of powder, which Additive Industries says “represents an inflection point” in part production for metal PBF 3D printing, where most candidate parts were once only limited to fist-sized volumes to meet calculations for ROI. This company is able to use the MetalFAB1 to cost-effectively 3D print parts that weigh 180 kg and stand 420 x 400 mm tall – how’s that for a return on its investment!
“This part is likely the largest, most complex powder bed fusion part ever produced in series production,” stated Shane Collins, the General Manager for Additive Industries North America, Inc. “We are proud of our multi-disciplinary team that worked with this customer to make this production a reality as well as the capabilities of our MetalFAB1 systems to print for days back to back.
“This order will bring the North America MetalFAB1 installed base to 17 systems which has been achieved since machine #1 was installed late in 2017. Considering each system has four, 500 [W] lasers, the powder consolidation capabilities would equal roughly 68 single laser systems.”
Discuss this story and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below.[Source/Images: Additive Industries]
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