Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT, Aachen, Germany, has reported that it recently attended the LASER World of PHOTONICS 2017, June 26–29, Munich, Germany. The Institute showcased a wide range of technologies from the fields of applied laser technology and beam-source development, ranging from diode and fibre lasers to new measurement technology, and even laser systems for use in space. Among the offerings showcased was the institute’s new metal Additive Manufacturing machine.
While metal Additive Manufacturing is already used on an industrial scale and has made strides to penetrate the global market, the costs of machines and accompanying technologies can be prohibitively high for smaller enterprises. According to Fraunhofer ILT, many small companies have good ideas which could be achieved through AM, but are prevented from pursuing their goals by the cost.
Fraunhofer ILT’s metal Additive Manufacturing machine incorporates a four-axis system that can be used with various metal powders and includes, in addition to a 140 W diode laser, a shielding gas device and open-source control software. High levels of interest were reported at the show, with both small machine and tool builders asking about it as well as experienced users who wanted to qualify new materials using the low-cost system.
“We want to bring Additive Manufacturing to SMEs”, explained Professor Johannes Henrich Schleifenbaum, Chair of the newly established Digital Additive Production DAP at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University. “In addition to this, we can offer the necessary training.” A training seminar will be offered at Fraunhofer ILT, usually taking two to five days.