Amsterdam-based MX3D is set to unveil its newest robotic wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) platform, MX Metal AM System, at Formnext Forum Austin. Created in response to demand from various industrial sectors, including energy, manufacturing, and maritime, the system features a build volume of 600 x 150 x 350 cm, catering to the need for manufacturing large metal components.
The complete setup consists of an 8-axis heavy-duty industrial robot, a high productivity power source, and MX3D’s 24/7 automation package. The MX Metal AM System’s capabilities extend to multiple adjustable build plates and include a 2-axis positioner, enabling the production of parts weighing up to five tons. The printer operates with the latest edition of MX3D’s in-house workflow software and control system, MetalXL, bolstered with new productivity tools, dynamic sensors, and active closed-loop processes. The overarching aim is to augment the autonomous round-the-clock creation of qualified industrial metal parts.
“Several of our customers see opportunities for applying WAAM on much bigger parts. Especially in the energy and maritime industry where they will replace large casted or forged parts with 3D printed parts to accelerate the lead time, bring down cost and reshore production of critical parts,” said MX3D CEO Gijs van der Velden. “Since the launch of MetalXL and the M1, we have received many customer requests about whether we could supply them with a system capable of printing radically larger parts. The MX Metal AM System is the answer to this call. Now customers can also print very large and extra heavy certified metal components in-house, accelerating 24/7 automation and operational excellence”.
The new system offers a fully customizable robotic solution for fabricating large-scale metal parts, allowing customers to tailor the system to their specific needs. Utilizing well-known brands such as ABB, KUKA robotics, and Fronius’ cutting-edge welding equipment, the MX Metal AM System is geared to produce large, heavy, and customized metal parts.
Optimization is possible through various heavy-duty-cycle power sources to attain higher build speeds, exceeding 10 kg/hr deposition rate. Additionally, the system can be configured for multi-material manufacturing with different metal alloys. All these features are seamlessly integrated and automated by MX3D’s proprietary MX3F workflow platform and control system, offering flexible, controlled, and advanced robotic Additive Manufacturing. Industry giants such as BMW Group, Shimoda Iron Works, Dalhousie University, and Whittaker Engineering currently utilize WAAM systems from MX3D.
“The MX Metal AM System is an impressive production system and by far the largest AM system MX3D has released to the market. It certainly is the heavyweight champion of Metal 3D Printing,” added Thomas Van Glabeke, CPO of MX3D. “We specifically configured it for our customers in the heavy industry markets, and we engineered it to ensure speed, quality, and cost-effectiveness for the production of large-scale metal parts.”
MX3D began commercializing its WAAM technology in 2021, after receiving significant attention for applying WAAM to a variety of projects. Most notably, this included the MX3D Bridge that was installed across a canal in Amsterdam in July 2021. The company also released its smaller scale M1 Metal System. Now, we’re witnessing its efforts to further gain a presence in the U.S. by attending the country’s first Formnext Forum in Austin, after previously attending shows like RAPID + TCT.
WAAM is gaining traction across industry as a cost-effective means of producing high-value, large-scale metal parts for energy, maritime, military, and aerospace. MX3D represents one of the most prominent manufacturers of WAAM machines in Northwestern Europe. However, it competes with a variety of companies globally, including Meltio/ADDiTEC in Spain and Hybrid Manufacturing Technologies in the U.S. and U.K. (backed by Nikon) when it comes to the smaller end of the market. When it comes to the larger end, there are U.S. firms like Sciaky and Australian companies like AML3D.
With this in mind, we’re seeing MX3D fulfill a niche that bridges those two sides of the spectrum, while also acting as a key regional manufacturer. Whereas that former trend is important for fleshing out the world of WAAM and directed energy deposition more broadly, it is the latter that is more crucial as reshoring takes place around the world. At the current stage, it is no longer as important to conquer the global market as it is to serve the needs of local businesses and governments due to their focus on supply chain resilience. Therefore, if MX3D becomes the go-to WAAM solution in Northwestern Europe, that may be enough to ensure its success.
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