Digital Metal, Höganäs, Sweden, has reported that one of its DMP2500 binder jet metal Additive Manufacturing systems will be installed at the UK’s National Centre for Additive Manufacturing (NCAM), based at the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) in Coventry, UK, in July 2018. Once operational, it will be available to both NCAM member companies and other organisations interested in testing the technology and capabilities of binder jetting, providing an opportunity for UK industry to understand and utilise its unique capabilities for the production of small, highly complex, high-precision parts.
The Digital Metal binder jet system will be the first in the UK. Ralf Carlström, General Manager at Digital Metal, stated, “Our printer will be delivered and installed at the NCAM in July. Within a week, the first real tests will start. The NCAM personnel are currently performing training on the equipment to make sure they will be able to operate it safely and efficiently.”
NCAM is said to offer a comprehensive range of Additive Manufacturing processes and have expertise in the entire AM workflow, from the initial design to final delivery of pre-production parts. The centre is capable of supporting companies of any size to enhance their understanding and adoption of AM and its potential benefits for their business.
“The Digital Metal binder jetting technology falls into the category of ‘bind-and-sinter AM’, where a multi-stage process chain incorporating sintering is required to achieve full density,” explained Dr David Brackett, AM Technology Manager at the NCAM. “It’s a very fast technology that can create complicated and highly detailed designs, and there is potential for wider material choice than with AM processes that use melting. We are delighted to be able to offer this to the companies we work with.”
A key application area for the DMP2500 at the centre will be in the NCAM-led DRAMA (Digital Reconfigurable Additive Manufacturing facilities for Aerospace) project, a three-year initiative aimed at establishing world-class digitally-enabled AM ‘test bed’ facilities where aerospace suppliers will be able to learn about and test AM processes. DRAMA is funded by the UK’s Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy as part of the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, delivered through Innovate UK, and supported by the Aerospace Technology Institute.
NCAM also conducts advanced research in Metal Injection Moulding (MIM), which requires a similar set of post-processing steps to metal binder jetting. “Digital Metal’s technology offers great potential for metal AM productivity and capability,” commented Usama Attia, Technical Specialist at the NCAM, who is applying his expertise in MIM processing to bind-and-sinter AM technologies. “I am particularly impressed by the production speed, and the quality of the parts produced are comparable to MIM in terms of level of details, tight tolerances and quality of surface finish, with the added advantage of geometrical complexity.”