EOS, headquartered in Krailling, Germany, will present its latest solutions for series Additive Manufacturing at Formnext 2018, November 13-16, Frankfurt, Germany. The company’s EOS M 300-4 system, which was launched in September 2018 at the International Manufacturing Technology Show, will be presented as the foundation of a production cell for serial metal AM.
EOS’s metal AM production cell is based on the interaction of the company’s software and hardware solutions, and the integration of its solutions to create an optimised workflow for parts and data throughout each step of the AM process, from the design through the build process and subsequent quality assurance. During the exhibition, EOS will demonstrate its capability to supply companies with a complete range of solutions, and how it meets the strict requirements for AM serial production.
In the first step of EOS’s integrated AM workflow, Amphyon software from Additive Works is used to simulate part production, highlighting and optimising potentially problematic areas of the part at an early stage. The EOSPRINT 2 CAM tool is then used to prepare the file for building. EOSPRINT 2 algorithms can be integrated directly into leading CAD systems, allowing for an uninterrupted and linked workflow in a consistent software environment.
Parts are then built on the EOS M 300-4, the core of the production cell on display, reported to offer up to ten times higher productivity while manufacturing parts to industrial-grade quality. This platform is configurable with the complete EOSTATE Monitoring Suite for the real-time monitoring of the AM build process, including four different monitoring modules (System and Laser, PowderBed, MeltPool, and Exposure OT) that enable users to capture production and quality-related data throughout the build process. The ability to carry out quality assurance during the build process is significant, particularly in large-scale manufacturing, where reproducible part quality is essential.
In order to fully integrate AM in industrial production environments, the production cell can be connected to existing MES/ERP applications through EOSCONNECT and its open OPC UA interface. New digital marketplaces and IoT platforms are also supported. Therefore, all the machine and production data obtained can be used in real time to form the basis of a digital factory. The first element of the EOSCONNECT software suite, EOSCONNECT Core, has recently been released, and further modules are currently in development.
Also highlighted will be the EOS’s portfolio of consulting and service offerings, including its SmartCAL service solution, a combination of hardware and software for laser scanner calibration. Achieving the correct laser scanner calibration is key to ensure the exact positioning of the laser beam on the build platform to guarantee ideal part quality.
SmartCAL is said to help reduce calibration time by more than 80%, and it is also possible to calibrate the overlap area in the build space of the EOS M 300-4 and EOS M 400-4, resulting in an optimised overlap area with regard to both the mechanical part properties and the visibility of the overlap line, further improving part quality.
EOS also recently began offering remote servicing for its new generations of systems. A secure data link between EOS and its machines enables the company to provide customers with support and assistance by establishing a temporary connection, at the initiative of the customer, which is disconnected again after communication has been completed for data security. This has the benefit of ensuring optimum machine uptime for customers.
In addition, EOS will introduce its Technology Readiness Level (TRL) classifications in the fields of both metal and polymer AM during the exhibition, which it states will provide additional clarity on the maturity of materials and processes. The company is introducing TRL classifications to highlight the technological maturity of its metal and polymer materials and processes. In doing so, it stated that it hopes to provide a level of information availability and transparency that will enable companies to compare industrial AM with traditional manufacturing and other AM technologies.
The TRL concept was developed by NASA and is established in numerous industries. Level 5, for example, refers to a verification of the technical solution, while the highest level, Level 9, refers to full production capability documented with extensive statistical data.
EOS will divide its material products into two categories: TRL 3-6 refers to CORE products, whereas PREMIUM products will fall into the categories TRL 7-9, denoting that they are suitable for use in serial manufacturing. One goal is the faster availability of new materials on the market with a clear value proposition. At Formnext, EOS will showcase examples of new categories including a high thermal load endurance aluminium alloy (PREMIUM level) and CORE-level copper materials.
The company has also developed new process parameters with the aim of significantly increasing the build rates of industrial components. These new process parameters address applications that were previously made conventionally using press sintering. EOS will present the fastest aluminium process for the material EOS Aluminium AlSi10Mg and, developed together with technology partner GKN Powder Metallurgy, the EOS StainlessSteel 316L VPro (volume production), said to make possible previously unachievable build rates.
In addition, the company will introduce a new exposure strategy said to drastically reduce support structures. This could allow faster build times as well as decreased material consumption and post processing.