SLM Solutions and Burgmaier strengthen partnership with case-hardening steel and hybrid AM

October 1, 2021

SLM Solutions’ SLM 280 AM machine was utilised as part of the collaboration with Burgmaier (Courtesy SLM Solutions)

SLM Solutions, Lübeck, Germany, and high-precision metal parts processor Burgmaier, headquartered in Allmendingen, Germany, have been working together for more than three years attempting to redefine what is possible in part processing. With the help of SLM® Additive Manufacturing technology, Burgmaier has reportedly already improved the efficiency, design, and manufacturing cost of various components, including AM cutting tools, manufacturing equipment such as nozzles or claws, and casting moulds.

Burgmaier has now established a technique of hybrid manufacturing using various steels such as 1.2709 or 16MnCr5, allowing it to manufacture with high precision. 16MnCr5 is a preferred material for the tooling industry and combines a very hard surface with a ductile core, and various heat treatments can flexibly adjust its characteristics to fit the requirements.

The introduction of case-hardening-steels to AM could be a game changer; opening up a new world of hard-wearing designs, from lightweight tools with flexible cooling channels to resistant and cost-efficient moulds. The hybrid manufacturing process includes an innovative, self-developed system to clamp various base bodies and a standardised approach to additively manufacture the parts in an SLM 280 AM machine, enabling single-use and series production with high accuracy.

Burgmaier has reportedly achieved a positioning and repeating accuracy of fewer than 0.05 mm and a high-quality joint of the base body and the AM part. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, Burgmaier decided to invest in developing both innovations (16MnCr5 and hybrid-process).

“We are a partner-like solution provider for complex challenges with a high-quality standard,” stated Ken Krauss, Director Additive Manufacturing, Burgmaier. “Curiosity and precision drive us to develop the right solution with and for our customers. We provide the advantages of additive, subtractive and hybrid manufacturing from a single source.”

The heart of the partnership is said to be the SLM 280. Its dual laser, closed-loop powder handling has made it well suited for medium- to high-volume metal part production and prototyping. The systems can build at an 80% faster rate than a single laser, and the patented bidirectional powder recoating boosts productivity by reducing overall manufacturing time.

Sam O’Leary, CEO, SLM Solutions, added, “It’s a partner like that of Burgmaier that is a testament to the deep collaboration necessary to achieve extraordinary new heights of technological advancement. This is not a one-and-done story, but a series of success that we will continue to build upon, together.”

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