Laser Lines, Banbury, Oxford, UK, a reseller of Additive Manufacturing machines and materials, reports that it has sold an XM200C AM machine from Xact Metal, State College, Pennsylvania, USA, to the National Centre for Motorsport Engineering (NCME). The sale of the XM200C machine is said to be the first in the UK.
NCME is based at the University of Bolton and offers application and practical focused courses to students that desire to become experts in the performance-focused engineering that is required to work in a Formula 1 team.
The centre will use the metal Laser Beam Powder Bed Fusion (PBF-LB) machine to help teach its students about metal AM, to increase accessibility to the technology for the local motor sport industry and to enable the use of high-end materials.
Robert Higham, a senior lecturer and programme leader at NCME, stated, “We are incredibly excited to be the first customer of Xact Metal’s versatile machine in the UK. Our job is to make sure our students are exposed to high-end, Formula 1-level equipment, methods and tools, and this purchase enables us to do just that.”
“It also allows us to support the growing space and aerospace industry in the north-west of England in its journey to reap the benefits of additive design and manufacture. In addition, we intend to work with Scalmalloy, a high-performing aluminium alloy that is of great interest in aerospace, space and motorsport,” Higham continued. “The Xact Metal’s open architecture means it is capable of processing this, but nobody has done it yet. You would normally need to use one of the very high-end, large £500,000 machines to use this world-leading material. But we intend to develop the printing parameters so that this lower-cost, smaller machine can produce Scalmalloy parts.”
Juan Mario Gomez, CEO at Xact Metal, commented, “There is nothing we like better than getting the opportunity to work with leading education institutions such as the NCME, as we are dedicated to supporting the next generation of innovative manufacturing solutions powered by metal 3D printing.”
Paul Tickle, metals product specialist at Laser Lines, added, “The Xact Metal XM200C is a very neat and compact machine. Some of the alternatives can fill a room, and you almost need a degree to be able to run them. This model has just the components that it needs and nothing more, producing parts that are exceptional for a much smaller capital investment. The key to this is the high-speed gantry system that allows simple mirrors to move quickly and consistently above the powder-bed on an X-Y axis, unlike traditional Powder Bed Fusion machines that use a laser fired at a mirror attached to a galvanometer.”
“This brings the cost down so you can be up and running for less than £100,000, which is cheaper than a brand new 3-axis CNC machine. When you consider the time and money savings that come with Additive Manufacturing, you can see why the Xact Metal machines are a particularly attractive prospect for SMEs and universities,” Tickle concluded.