GROB Systems, headquartered in Mindelheim, Germany, has announced that it intends to present the latest updates to its metal Additive Manufacturing machine, the GMP300, at a 2023 In-House Exhibition. The Liquid Metal Printing (LMP) machine includes a number of improvements, as well as a modified variant.
The company has further developed its protective gas concept and with improved sealing the residual oxygen content in the installation space can be further reduced to a low ppm content. Progress has also been made in materials, so that additional aluminium alloys can now be processed. Success has also been reported in droplet generation with aluminium-magnesium alloys, which had been difficult to process. This way, the company has cleared the first hurdle to the production of magnesium-containing aluminum components.
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In addition to the identification and investigation of new materials, GROB is carrying out various trials to qualify already additively manufacturable materials as part of a defined testing process. The goal is to identify and quantify the material-specific properties of the parts produced with the process.
GROB was also able to achieve further optimisations in the area of process development. With the help of additional sensors, drop size, drop speed, and part height can now be detected in situ during the Additive Manufacturing process and corrective interventions into part production can be made. These additional quality assurance steps have significantly improved part quality and process stability.
Since the introduction of the machine last year, the company has had many discussions with interested partners and manufactured numerous individual customer components to convince customers and users of the advantages and properties of this technology. The GROB AM Team supported the companies both in the analysis of the parts and in redesigning the components in order to optimise them for production using the LMP process. In addition to first sample productions, GROB also offers the production of the first small-part series as part of an Additive Manufacturing service.
In contrast to the powder bed fusion process, the raw material for the GROB-developed LMP process is wire. This reduces not only the material costs, but also eliminates health and explosion hazards, dispensing with additional work steps such as component de-powdering and the sifting and processing of the powder. The LMP process is also a micro-casting process and not a welding process, having little to no thermal warping. This allows for processing of non-weldable alloys.
The LMP process generates a homogenous microstructure with yield strengths equal to (or sometimes greater than) the raw material values. In addition to this, the process is said to enable high flexibility and productivity. The flexibility is achieved by the ability to change materials quickly with no excessive cleaning effort, by the highly variable drop diameter and the crucible changer that allows quick changes of both the build head and nozzle. The high productivity of the LMP process is attributed, primarily, to the high build-up rates, the reduced post-processing work, and the fact that the component costs scale to only slightly above the filling level of the construction base.