Daimler funds 3D printer for auto production

Automaker Daimler AG has funded the development of a large build volume additive manufacturing (AM) system for use in automotive production

The research, which resulted from a partnership between Fraunhofer Institute of Laser Technology and German company Concept Laser, has resulted in the X line 1000R system. Its build volume is 630mm x 400mm x 500mm (23.6 inches x 15.7 inches x 19.7 inches), among the biggest yet, and it has a layer thickness of 20 to 100 microns. The new machine was introduced at Euromold 2012 in late November.

The X line 1000R technology was based on Concept Laser’s LaserCUSING selective laser sintering process for powdered metals. The new machine has a high-power laser in the kilowatt range, enabling as much as 10 times greater productivity compared to standard laser fusing machines, according to a press release.

Daimler’s main goal was to replace the costly and time-taking sand-casting and die-casting processes used to make large, metal functional components and technical prototypes. The aim was to do this while also increasing part size and maintaining the consistency of material properties between parts, with the intention of speeding development of complex, lightweight, highly rigid parts that will result in weight-optimized geometries. The automaker’s additional needs included surface finish quality, as well as qualification of different aluminum series alloys for a range of applications.

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Source: Design News

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