Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Seeking the Paradigm Shift for Metal AM

ST Medical Devices

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Brian Matthews, Chief Technology Officer for Meltio, will be speaking at 3DPrint.com’s upcoming AMS online industry summit (Feb 9-10, 2021). Register here.

Additive metal manufacturing is one of the 3D technologies with the most potential for future development. The interest it has generated for years is also understandable, if we think about the implications it can have for the transformation of the industry, in terms of reducing costs for obtaining final parts in high-performance industries.

However, until now, additive manufacturing in metal has been limited to complex and very expensive processes, which have prevented its massive adoption. In this sense, MELTIO’s proposal is ambitious and revolutionary, since it aims to democratize access to additive metal manufacturing to the entire industry in general, and change the way parts are manufactured, on a massive scale.

The uniqueness of MELTIO’s laser technology allows using metal wire and metal powder within the same print head without requiring any hardware change, to create new alloys on the fly. This proposal is unique in the market and allows a series of very clear advantages for the user.

On the one hand, the fabrication with metallic wire greatly reduces part production cost, because the MELTIO metal printers can use coils of low cost metallic wire traditionally used in welding. On the other hand, this method is clean and safe, and also allows a 100% use of the material. But also the possibility of using metal powder at the same time brings very interesting possibilities for the future, since it allows creating new alloys on the fly using metal powder within the same print head, even with not weldable materials.

The secret of this technology lies in the patented multi-laser head, which takes traditional LMD capabilities to a new level thanks to a complex optical development. This head, available with different power configurations depending on the client’s needs, is present in MELTIO’s two star products: its M450 printer and its Engine module to allow hybrid manufacturing with CNC machinery, robotic arms and gantry systems.

Although both products share the same additive manufacturing technology, they are well differentiated products. The M450 has a traditional closed 3D printer format with a maximum build volume of 150mm x 200mm x 450mm, while the hybrid and robotic fabrication with the Engine brings to the market the solution for one of the great historical limitations of additive manufacturing: the ability to manufacture large parts. The size is no longer marked by the build envelope of the printer. Now it will be marked by the capacity and size of the robot, gantry or CNC where the Engine is integrated.

The metal additive manufacturing market thus far has been a margin-based business, selling very few units at a high price. MELTIO has come to change this paradigm thanks to an elegant and affordable technology, interesting both for diverse industrial sectors and research institutions.

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