Concept Laser, Lichtenfels, Germany, has reported record figures for the first half of 2016, with an increase in sales of 88% for the period compared to first half 2015 figures. The increase in sales has exceeded the company’s target figures for the period and the company now expects sales to exceed their target for the second half of 2016. The growth path has also been reflected in the number of employees which has risen to 190 (as of June 30, 2016).
“The transition to the industrial series production of additively manufactured metal parts is increasingly stimulating our growth. But this is where our constant aspiration to advance the technology with further innovations and cater for the needs of the market and our customers in the best way possible is also paying off,” stated Frank Herzog, President & CEO of Concept Laser. “From the end of 2016, the next logical step will then be the commercial launch of our new machine architecture.”
This growth is also supported by service providers that are upgrading their fleet of machinery and installations so that they are able to cater for the great demand for additively manufactured parts made from metal. In addition, the multilaser technology and the X line 2000R, which has the world’s largest build envelope for powder-bed-based laser melting with metals, are making their contribution to the success.
In-situ process monitoring has been one of the key strategic fields of technology for Concept Laser since as early as 2004, long before the market was demanding such a solution. This far-sighted approach resulted in the development and market launch of QM Meltpool 3D, the first process monitoring tool of its type which received the ‘International Additive Manufacturing Award 2016’ (IAMA) at Metav 2016. QM Meltpool 3D provides quality-relevant data for process monitoring and documentation in real time, and this is absolutely essential for part manufacturing and qualification in particular for the aerospace and medical technology sectors.
Concept Laser stated that the next milestone for the company will be the commercial availability of its new machine architecture based on its vision of the ‘AM Factory of Tomorrow’, scheduled for the end of 2016. Systems planned include stand-alone process stations for the build process, with a build envelope of 400 x 400 x >400 mm³, which will have one to four laser systems featuring multilaser technology with 400 W to 1,000 W laser sources. There is also a new two-axis coating process allowing the return run of the coater to be performed alongside the exposure. This results in a considerable time saving during the coating process.
An automated tool changing system, as is the case with CNC machine technology, also promises a high level of flexibility, time advantages when setting up the machine and reducing the level of manual intervention by the operator. For set-up and disarming processes, there are physically separate, autonomous handling stations.
An automated material flow is another unique selling point of the new sytems. This allows self-contained modules for transport and material provision to be used on the process stations. This and the decoupling of the process and handling stations simplify each production assignment.