Farsoon Showcases Comprehensive 3D Printing Solutions, Automation, and More at TCT Asia

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This year’s TCT Asia event showcased just how much the Asian additive manufacturing (AM) market has grown, with Eplus3D’s 64-laser metal 3D printer alone acting as a synecdoche for China’s sector. Rival Farsoon, too, demonstrated the maturity of the industry, not by unveiling countless lasers, but by showcasing a holistic portfolio of complementary 3D printing products. Alongside a laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) system with 12 energy sources, the company introduced new software, powder management, and its own laser scan path control card.

The 12-Laser FS811M Metal 3D Printer

The laser wars continue; however, at this point, most of the battles are taking place in China, where several LPBF system manufacturers are not only increasing the build size of and number of energy sources on their machines, but also the overall capabilities of these printers. The latest is Farsoon, which has unveiled its new FS811M LPBF 3D printer, featuring 6, 8, 10 or 12 x 500-watt fiber lasers and a build area of 840 x 840 mm² with Z height 960mm.

“Being the latest additional to Farsoon’s metal 3D printer portfolio, the FS811M grew out of a co-innovation project with our key industry customers operating multiple FS621M systems”, says Wenyu Guo, Vice-director of Farsoon metal product line management, “We’ve spent the past 2 years developing and optimizing the FS811M platform for specific application projects. Starting 1 year ago we start to see the rapidly expanding large-format Metal 3D printing application in aerospace, oil & gas, energy and automotive sectors, the industry customers are drawing greater requirements for manufacturing efficiency, reliability, and larger build size than FS621M. This is when we decide to fully commercialize the FS811M platform to scale up metal series production.”

The system follows the recent trend of expanded build heights in large-format LPBF machines, initially pioneered by Velo3D. This makes it ideal for applications in space, aerospace, oil and gas, and other industries. The combination of 12 lasers and a high-speed galvanometer system enables a print speed of up to 300cm3/h, with a multi-laser scanning strategy meant for high efficiency distribution and calibration accuracy in overlapping areas.

Farsoon has also introduced a new multi-layer gas flow with advanced wind-wall design that is designed for real-time particle removal. The company suggests that the printer’s airtight chamber allows for extreme oxygen content, and low inert gas consumption, while a powerful permanent filtration is meant to ensure consistent quality.

To improve ease-of-operation, front and rear doors make it possible to remove the build area using an integrated conveyor system. A fully enclosed breakout station allows multiple operators to remove powder and clean the printed part at the same time. A common modular powder container in the printer’s powder handling system enables loading, recycling and sieving for continuous powder supply to the printer itself.

While Farsoon hasn’t yet released a machine with more than 20 lasers, it continues to improve overall throughput, which is the goal of these machines. The previous release from the company saw the introduction of the aforementioned conveyor system, which, now applied to an even larger printer with 12 lasers, will only improve overall production capacity for users.

Powder Processing, MES, and Shoe Mold Software

Farsoon also introduced the FS-PHS-400P, a fully enclosed, intelligent polymer powder post-processing platform with one-stop operation, dual-system compatibility, and a clean, dust-free environment. Its compact design is meant to integrate seamlessly with the powder supply system of a given 3D printer, servicing two Farsoon 400 size SLS machines simultaneously. It includes a fully enclosed powder cleaning station where all dust is recycled, and cleaning occurs under negative pressure, isolating operators from dust and ensuring a safe production environment. Additionally, it offers automated, precise powder mixing with adjustable ratios, facilitating efficient and cost-effective production.

Additionally, Farsoon unveiled its own manufacturing execution system (MES), meant to optimize metal and polymer AM via a single, self-developed operating system. This system is designed to improve production management, material handling, quality control, and equipment maintenance, incorporating data collection, visualization, and analysis to maximize resource utilization and improve operational efficiencies.

The company also released software for shoe mold design that Farsoon claims significantly enhances drilling efficiency by 25% compared to traditional methods. This software intelligently calculates and customizes hole placement on shoe molds, leading to faster production times, enhanced pattern aesthetics, and a more sustainable manufacturing approach.

Another crucial development from the company is improvement in 3D printing metal with fewer supports, following the pattern of EOS, Velo3D, AddUp, and other LPBF manufacturers. This is important for the Chinese AM ecosystem, where other domestic manufacturers have yet to offer such a feature publicly. According to the company, this improvement reduces the need for supports by 99.8% and increases post-processing efficiency by 125%. To showcase the technology, the company successfully 3D printed parts with infinite height formation of inverted conical structures with tilt angles between 20° and 25°, and support-free horizontal circular holes up to 50mm in diameter.

Domestic Control Card Development

Increasingly necessary for LPBF manufacturers and beyond is reduced dependence on foreign suppliers. Just as U.S. firms like Velo3D are attempting to secure as many components as possible from within the U.S., Chinese companies are facing increased pressure to do the same for parts inside of China. This is particularly true for high-end electronics and related components, such as lasers.

Therefore, it’s a significant development that Farsoon has developed its own control card for laser scanning. According to the company, its proprietary technology ensures high consistency in scanning lines, greatly expanding the window for process development. It employs multi-channel control technology, allowing a single card to control four sets of galvanometers and lasers performing various scanning tasks. The technology is compatible with continuous fiber lasers, pulsed lasers, and CO₂ lasers, and supports multi-spot laser control modes.

The news from Farsoon suggests that China’s LPBF segment is attaining a high level of technological maturity and sophistication that, in some ways, surpasses AM companies in the U.S. and Europe.

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