Renishaw, Wotton-Under-Edge, Gloucestershire, UK, launched a new range of Additive Manufacturing machines, based on its RenAM 500 range, at Formnext 2021: the RenAM 500S Flex, a single-laser AM machine, and the RenAM 500Q Flex, a four-laser AM machine, which underwent beta testing at The DMC. Both machines feature a simplified powder handling system said to be well suited to manufacturers who must regularly swap build materials during production, such as research and development (R&D), pre-production or bureau environments.
The range features the same optical, chamber and gas-flow designs as the RenAM 500 series and produces the same quality parts, but provides additional flexibility when changing powders. The simplified, non-recirculating powder system enables manufacturers to more easily change between materials, without compromising on part quality or build capacity. To avoid cross contamination, engineers clean the system between powders by changing out hard-to-clean parts, rather than investing in a new machine for each material test. Parts can also be swapped in again if the operator wants to retest a material.
“Manufacturers can quickly change powders in the RenAM 500S Flex and RenAM 500Q Flex in-house, giving them the flexibility they need to meet customer demand,” stated Lily Dixon, AM Project Manager at Renishaw. “Once the pre-production stage is complete, the common build environment allows any parameters to be directly transferred to a RenAM 500Q with powder recirculation, without the need to retest the gas flow, chamber and optics. Manufacturers can also build full-size parts on a small scale before mass production.”
Dixon continued, “If the manufacturer no longer requires a flexible AM system, the Flex can even be converted into a recirculating machine – a feature that is unique to this system. Converting the system provides manufacturers with the highest productivity AM option for serial production.”