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Holo Launches First Slurry SLA 3D Printer for Micro Metal Parts

Metal AM Markets
AMR Military

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Slurry stereolithography (SLA) is a captivating technological pathway where loaded vat polymerization resins are transformed into highly detailed and accurate metal parts. This technology is particularly invaluable for medical and micro-scale parts, as well as applications like heat exchangers. Significant advancements in slurry SLA have been made by Lithoz, Incus, MetShape, and Holo. Also known as lithography metal manufacturing, I find this technology remarkable for achieving supreme precision, smooth inner surfaces, and high accuracy, all while maintaining cost-effectiveness.

Holo is advancing this technology further with the launch of its H200 production system. Unlike before, when the firm solely operated as a service, allowing customers to order parts in copper, stainless steel, titanium, alumina, and other alloys, it now offers the opportunity to house one of their systems on-site.

Holo highlights that its system is versatile, capable of handling both low volume production and part runs extending into the millions. The company has rigorously tested the system in-house through its own print service production, showcasing its practical utility. The system can achieve fine detail up to 50µm, with tolerances of +/-25µm or +/-0.1%. It also boasts a surface roughness of 1-3µm Ra, indicating that many parts could be utilized directly, thereby reducing post-processing costs. The build volume is specified at 244 x 195 x 200 mm, and the system is designed to integrate seamlessly with existing MIM furnaces.

Above is an image of a part printed in just eight seconds – a dental abutment, which is a screw used to secure a dental implant in place. This part has the potential to be a high-volume item in manufacturing due to its necessity in dental procedures. Impressively, the abutment comes with 3D printed threads, featuring a 200µm thread pitch. Currently, the H200 system is compatible with 17-4PH and 316L stainless steel, along with copper. Copper is particularly exciting due to its potential use in heatsinks and other industrial components. In the future, the company plans to extend the system’s material compatibility to include Inconel and Ti-64.

“True to CAD from Holo’s technology means that our H200 system produces MIM-quality parts without the mold. For most applications, our technology does not require parts to go through any post-machining or polishing; it sinters parts to spec for a first-time-right approach suited for demanding, high-volume end-use applications,” said Holo Chief Strategy Officer Arian Aghababaie.

“We are thrilled for customers to gain access to the H200,” said Holo CEO Hal Zarem, PhD. “Production volumes of parts in fields like surgical instruments will be within reach, finally fulfilling the promise of additive manufacturing as a scalable, production-ready suite,” Holo CEO Hal Zarem stated.

The company says that it has shipped over 10,000 parts using the system, primarily targeting the aerospace, electronics, and medical sectors. I am quite taken with slurry SLA as a technology, particularly in the micro space and for objects up to a few centimeters in size. This technology holds distinct advantages in quality and repeatability. Given that parts are crafted in a liquid, it enables the creation of intricate clear channels in the objects produced. This feature paves the way for highly detailed heatsinks, tiny mechanical components, small assemblies, and minuscule hydraulic components. For instance, envision crafting a heatsink for eyeglasses to prevent them from fogging up. The potential applications extend to microhydraulics in robots and aerospace sectors. Essentially, any application that necessitates smooth flowing channels could benefit from these parts, eliminating the need for abrasive flow machining and similar processes. I am highly optimistic about the innovative applications people might discover with Slurry SLA, and perceive this as a remarkable stride forward for us.

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