Additive Manufacturing Strategies

Additive Industries Introduces New Metal 3D Printer, Tools, Partners, and Deal with Safran

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Though its management has experienced a bit of a shakeup, Additive Industries is telling the world at Formnext 2021 that it is still in the game and advancing its product portfolio. At the trade show, the Dutch metal 3D printer manufacturer has unveiled a new 3D printer with double the productivity of the previous generation, as well as a series of new products, partnerships, and a deal with French aerospace giant Safran.

The MetalFABG2 at Formnext. Image courtesy of Additive Industries.

Additive Industries previously unveiled plans to create a 10-laser metal powder bed fusion (PBF) system. That system is not quite ready for market yet, but the company did showcase its new MetalFABG2 series at Formnext. The machine is an upgrade to the previous MetalFAB1 3D printer and includes “over 150 updates implemented and features optimized gas flow, optimized heat management, updated process parameters and automated beam quality measurements.” Like its predecessor it is Sigma Labs PrintRite3D ready, meaning that it can incorporate the PrintRite3D quality control module. Available in three versions—Core, Automation and Continuous Production—the MetalFABG2 offers double the productivity of the MetalFAB1.

Image courtesy of Additive Industries.

The integration of PrintRite3D into its systems has led to the creation of a product called MF Insight. The tool offers real-time melt pool analytics and monitoring meant to improve material usage, part qualification and product development. Additionally, Additive Industries has worked with Materialise to include its latest Build Processor, V2.6, which can slice more data with processing that is twice as fast. Optimized for use with Additive Industries’ Dynamic Laser Assignment Tool, this version can process e-Stage support, as well.

PrintRite3D 7.0: 3D Volume Workspace; Anomalies shown in red

Other developments from Additive Industries include the launch of a new multi-beam qualification tool, MF Calibrate, which automates the beam quality validation procedure for the system. Whereas manual calibration could take a day, this tool cuts validation time down to less than an hour, according to the company.

The firm also announced the formation of Additive Studios, essentially consultation services to aid in applications, design, build optimization, process parameter definitions, material development, production optimization, and post-processing. These services are being offered out of the companies’ offices now located in Bristol, Los Angeles, Eindhoven and Singapore.

Additionally, Additive industries has partnered with machinery equipment manufacturer Makino to create end-to-end AM solutions. The goal is to develop products that cover everything from design to manufacturing and machining.

“We are excited to launch this broad array of new solutions and services, which underline our ambition to provide the next generation in productivity leadership”, says Ian Howe, CEO at Additive Industries. “One of the most exciting aspects of Additive Manufacturing is the versatility of the technique. Applications can be found in almost every industry, in parts that range from simple brackets to complex assemblies with moving parts and many integrated functions. With our services and solutions, we ensure our partners are able to utilize AM to fullest.”

While Additive Industries has been busy developing its newest printer, its legacy machine, the MetalFAB1, has found an important customer in the Safran Group. After testing the machine in June 2021, the Safran Additive Manufacturing Campus is now using the system to produce parts for its aerospace, space and military manufacturing operations.

“With the integration of a MetalFAB1 AM printer in Safran, we have the ambition to meet the challenge of performance at the right level of quality of raw material and productivity for Aluminium, declares FX Foubert (CEO of SAMC), who underlines the good relationship with Additive Industries, and which makes us confident about reaching our ambitious targets.”

Picture of Safran & Additive Industries Formnext 2021, from left to right: Stephane Escalier, Director Business Development France at Additive Industries; Udo Burggraf, Global Director Strategic Accounts at Additive Industries; FX Foubert, CEO of Safran AM Campus; Ian Howe, CEO at Additive Industries; Eric Recton, Chef de Projet Industriel; Olivier Chantoiseau AM Process Engineering Manager at Safran AM Campus; Mark Massey, CCO at Additive Industries. Image courtesy of Additive Industries.

Safran has over 76,000 employees and managed sales of €16.5 billion in 2020. It is the largest aerospace engine company in Europe and a prime user of additive manufacturing technology. For instance, it was with Safran that GE was able to develop and produce the famous LEAP nozzle, through their joint company, CFM International.

According to Additive Industries, this is just a first step for the two businesses. Ian C. Howe, CEO at Additive Industries, noted, “We are honoured that Safran has chosen the MetalFAB1 technology and our company and we are excited to embark on a long term partnership in developing the technology and applications together with Safran group. We are convinced our technologies have an excellent fit with the highly technical market Safran is operating in and we are committed to contributing to Safran’s endeavour in developing new applications with additive manufacturing, including high productivity and quality, combined with maximum safety for the workforce.”

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