MTC adds AMCM’s new M 290-2 FLX metal Additive Manufacturing machine

May 14, 2024

May 14, 2024

The MTC has installed AMCM's new M 290-2 FLX machine (Courtesy MTC/AMCM)
The MTC has installed AMCM’s new M 290-2 FLX machine (Courtesy MTC/AMCM)

The Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC), an independent research and technology organisation based in Coventry, UK, has installed an M 290-2 FLX Additive Manufacturing machine from AMCM GmbH, Starnberg, Germany. The metal Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) Additive Manufacturing machine is equipped with two 1200 W variable spot size ‘nLIGHT’ lasers. With full field overlap, both scanners are able to reach all spots on the build plate, ensuring full flexibility with regard to build orientation.

The MTC aims to provide customers with easy and early access to the latest applied technologies and research. It is the National Center of Additive Manufacturing in the UK and a focal point for AM research activities within the country. The team specialises in developing advanced manufacturing processes and technologies to produce complex and large-scale AM components.

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AMCM reports it has already shown a significant productivity increase with, for example, IN718 nickel-chromium alloy. Compared to a standard single 400W laser process with 85 µm spot size, a single nLIGHT exposure process is reportedly two times faster in addition to having the same mechanical and surface properties, this is expected to be further improved with an additional laser source.

Gas flow and oxygen levels are often the defining factors in PBF-LB process quality. This is particularly true when speed is increased above a certain threshold or when oxidation-sensitive materials are used. As AMCM specialises in industrial solutions, its systems feature unique long term stable atmosphere control at <50 ppm. MTC will initially use the AMCM M 290-2 FLX for a comprehensive evaluation of pure copper AM, a challenging material when aiming for industrial quality and reliability.

Furthermore, the AMCM machine can heat the build platform up to 500°C. As pre- and post-heat treatment is critical in the processing of certain high-performance aluminium alloys and refractory metals, this enables MTC to evaluate a wide range of high-end applications, such as those in the aerospace and defence industry.

Equipped with two 1200 W laser sources, the AMCM M 290-2 FLX is a high-power machine (Courtesy AMCM)
Equipped with two 1200 W laser sources, the AMCM M 290-2 FLX is a high-power machine (Courtesy AMCM)

Sina Trik, Sales – AMCM, EMEA, stated, “The UK manufacturing sector is at the forefront of innovation. While the use of materials such as copper offers huge benefits to product designers, manufacturers still face challenges in the Additive Manufacturing process. It’s always amazing to work with MTC – a true thought leader in UK – to expand the field of industrial metal AM.”

As well as exploring new materials, the MTC is also developing ways to increase the speed of AM production and the size of output components. Efficient exposure processes are needed to reduce time and costs. The variable spot sizes of nLIGHT can be switched within 30 ms to build contours and fine structures with maximum precision and infill hatching with accelerated throughput. A larger spot size is a good option for filling bulk material in Additive Manufacturing. This allows users to generate more volume with each pass, significantly reducing the number of hatches and reversal points. Furthermore, the MTC will be investigating novel methods of reducing the need for post processing steps, such as heat treatment, through novel in-situ beam interactions and in-process monitoring.

Equipped with two 1200 W laser sources, the AMCM M 290-2 FLX is a high-power machine. Ruaridh Mitchinson, Technology Manager at the MTC shared, “The laser setup will be identical to what is in future larger AMCM machines such as the AMCM M 8K. We will use our machine to investigate topics such as laser overlap on a smaller scale before going up to using larger systems. This investment demonstrates our continued support to companies by providing open access to assets with advanced AM capabilities that can produce high-performance parts more efficiently and cost-effectively. This way, we can help to increase the technology’s adoption in the UK.”

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May 14, 2024

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Extensive AM industry news coverage, as well as the following exclusive deep-dive articles:

  • Metal powders in Additive Manufacturing: An exploration of sustainable production, usage and recycling
  • Inside Wayland Additive: How innovation in electron beam PBF is opening new markets for AM
  • An end-to-end production case study: Leveraging data-driven machine learning and autonomous process control in AM
  • Consolidation, competition, and the cost of certification: Insight from New York’s AM Strategies 2024
  • Scandium’s impact on the Additive Manufacturing of aluminium alloys
  • AM for medical implants: An analysis of the impact of powder reuse in Powder Bed Fusion

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