His team has developed a new technology for 3D metal printing and has now applied for a patent. This new technology uses LED instead of laser sources for the additive manufacturing of metal parts and optimizes 3D metal printing in terms of construction time, metal powder consumption, equipment costs and post-processing effort.
Selective LED-based melting (SLEDM) – i.e. the targeted melting of metal powder using high-power LED light sources – is the name of the new technology that a team led by
The technology is similar to selective laser melting (SLM) and electron beam melting (EBM), in which metal powder is melted by means of a laser or electron beam and built up into a component layer by layer. However, SLEDM solves two central problems of these powder bed-based manufacturing processes: the time-consuming production of large-volume metal components and the time-consuming manual post-processing.
Tedious reworking is no longer necessary
This technology is combined with a newly designed production plant which – in contrast to other metal melting plants – adds the component from top to bottom. The component is thus exposed, the required amount of powder is reduced to a minimum and the necessary post-processing can be carried out during the printing process. “The time-consuming, usually manual reworking that is necessary with current methods, for example, smoothing rough surfaces and removing supporting structures, is no longer necessary and saves further valuable time,” says Haas.
Franz Haas is head of the Institute of Production Engineering at Graz University of Technology and he has developed this technology for 3D metal printing and has applied for a patent.