Laser Wars: Eplus3D Unveils Metal 3D Printer with up to 64 Lasers


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Now that the laser wars in the powder bed fusion (PBF) space have, for the most part, moved to China, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) there are in fierce competition. Eplus3D has upped the ante significantly with the release of the EP-M2050, which features up to 64 lasers, making it the most-lasered PBF system yet unveiled.

With a build chamber of 2058mm by 2058mm wide and 1100mm tall, the EP-M2050 is available in several laser configurations: a six by six array of 36 lasers and galvanometers, seven by seven with 49 lasers, or eight by eight with 64 lasers. This enables a throughput of up to 1080cm³/h when using stainless steel. Unveiled at TCT Asia, the EP-M2050 was showcased alongside a two-meter-long metal part (seen below).

The EP-M2050 includes an independently developed Eplus3D control software that simplifies the printing process and supports real-time adjustment of multi-light scanning strategies. Additionally, the system is equipped with IoT capabilities for remote monitoring, ensuring operational transparency and facilitating intelligent workshop management.

Naturally, the ability to manage such complex hardware systems must be challenging, but, at this point, we know that it is doable. The question is what sort of software goes into running these systems effectively. With that many lasers, it would make sense for artificial intelligence to be applied at some level.

Additionally, as companies like Dyndrite argue, GPUs are much more effective for transferring such large amounts of data to LPBF machines and beyond. Therefore, we have to also wonder what types of chips are being implemented for sending build paths to the machine. Are all of these many-laser systems running on NVIDIA’s costly and scarce AI chips?

Regardless, the news has significance for the industry at large. Companies outside of China have to worry about competition, with only VulcanForms, Freeform, and Seurat boasting capabilities that near this level. Additionally, it’s clear that LPBF can be applied to large format parts, potentially eating away at some of the market reserved for directed energy deposition, though obviously not at the same cost when it comes to wire arc additive manufacturing. Finally, it’s safe to say that LPBF is ready for mass manufacturing, despite the many obstacles in the way.

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