Xi’an Bright Laser Technologies Ltd. (BLT) builds high-end, Selective Laser Melting (SLM) printers for various metals, and now working in conjunction with Belgian AM pioneer Materialise, has created Version 1.0 of the BLT Build Processor.
With 20 years in the metal AM industry, BLT is the leading SLM OEM and one of the leading integrated service solution providers in China. The company’s customers in industries such as aerospace, healthcare, manufacturing and automotive markets will all take advantage of this innovation and improved user experience.
Huang Weidong, the founder and chairman of BLT, established the company in July 2011 and has since seen its output value quadruple to 2014. BLT currently works with 75 companies in the aviation and space industries, and with Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China, the designers and builders of the C919 commercial jet.
In much the way a 2D printer driver works, Materialise has built a series of user-friendly build processors aimed at simplifying the 3D printing workflow. These build processors provide users more control over 3D printed objects and deliver a pair of key benefits:
First, these build processors provide a seamless transfer of data which means users can create more complex – and better quality – parts.
And second, the build processor allows for the communication between the operator and the 3D printer reciprocal. The build processor doesn’t simply tell the machine what to do, but it also allows the machine to provide feedback which users can implement to trace and store data on specific jobs.
It’s essentially an unprecedented control mechanism for the AM and 3D printing environment aimed at helping engineers meet the rigorous manufacturing requirements of the sectors to which metal printers are most often applied.
Materialise says the processors, and there are now a number of them for varying applications, act as a bridge for the gap between 3D software and printers, and that they are a major step towards a more standardized machine communication system. Ultimately, the company says these build processors result in a “convenient man-machine interface” to reduce complexity and make AM and 3D printing technology accessible to an ever-wider range of users.
This collaboration with BLT is one of several Materialise has with AM machine manufacturers. To allow each partner to focus on their core competencies, Materialise provides the software platform and toolbox while manufacturers add their process-specific knowledge to create an improved user experience.
The build processor systems mean that AM data preparation is now expanded to include “slice-based technology” which improves handling of large files containing metadata on texturing or structures.