Digital Metal®, Sweden, a Höganäs Group company, has begun commercial production of its high-precision binder jet metal Additive Manufacturing system, which it states can produce smaller and more intricate components than any previous technology. The DM P2500 can now be purchased or licensed from Digital Metal and is reported to be ideal for serial production and customised parts.
According to Digital Metal, the DM P2500 manufactures parts in 42 µm layers at 100 cm3/h without the need for any support structures and has a print volume of 2500 cm3. This makes it possible to manufacture small objects in high quantities – up to 50,000 parts per print run – comprising a wide variety of shapes, geometries and internal and external finishes. The system delivers a resolution of 35 µm and an average surface roughness of Ra 6 µm before additional finishing processes are applied.
Digital Metal has been using this proprietary binder jet metal AM technology in-house for four years to produce bespoke and precision small-scale components. To date, the company states that it has produced approximately 200,000 pieces for customers in several industries, including aerospace, luxury goods, dental tools and industrial equipment manufacturing.
The process is adaptable for a variety of materials because sintering takes place after production. Powder removed before sintering can also be reused for subsequent jobs, making it one of the most sustainable AM technologies available today. This results in high yield and low scrap rates, meaning downtime is kept to a minimum and there is no powder degeneration.
Ralf Carlström, General Manager, Digital Metal, stated, “Our heritage, knowledge and experience in metal powders combined with the development and evolution of our cutting-edge printer technology has enabled us to succeed where others have failed. With the DM P2500 we are bringing to market a tried and tested 3D metal printer with the capability to produce objects with unparalleled accuracy and surface finish at high volume – from day one we delivered one-off parts in large volumes.”
“The Digital Metal business has doubled year on year since its inception, however we’ve barely scratched the surface in terms of the potential this technology offers for designers and engineers,” he continued. “We’ve seen relatively small – but previously unachievable – changes to the internal structure of components result in a 30% improvement in overall product efficiency, which would have been impossible to produce using conventional methods. As the design and engineering community begin to explore and understand what our highly repeatable and reliable technology enables, we believe we will see huge demand for this technology. By making the printers commercially available we hope to facilitate and fuel that demand.”
Luxury watch start-up Montfort has reportedly approached Digital Metal to print dials for its watches, with a design and finish that resemble the mineral, crystalline structure of rocks. Additionally, in the US, Honeywell Aerospace and Digital Metal are said to be exploring a number of joint AM projects that will merge Honeywell’s expertise in aerospace engineering with Digital Metal’s Additive Manufacturing technologies.
“The binder jetting technology Digital Metal uses to print small metal parts has the potential for various applications within the Honeywell Aerospace program,” explained Don Godfrey, Engineering Fellow – Additive Manufacturing, Honeywell Aerospace. “We believe this will also be critical to applications in other key areas of the broader aerospace industry.”
In addition to the DM P2500, Digital Metal has also stated that it will provide all ancillary equipment required with each machine, as well as introductory and ongoing training and support to ensure customers are able to achieve the ultimate productivity and outputs. In marketing the DM P2500, the company will initially target key industries that have a lot to gain from the Additive Manufacturing of small and complex components, including automotive, dental, healthcare, aerospace and luxury fashion.
In 2017, the company will exhibit at TCT Show, Birmingham, UK, September 26-28, Birmingham, UK, at Euro PM2017, Milan, Italy, October 1-5, and at formnext, Frankfurt, Germany, November 4-17.