With all eyes on Formnext, 3D Systems has taken the event as an opportunity to announce two new metal 3D printers: the DMP Flex 350 and DMP Factory 350. The machines, the latest additions to the company’s DMP metal 3D printing range, were developed to fulfill volume production of critical components for industrial applications in the aerospace, healthcare and transportation industries.
In addition to announcing the DMP Flex 350 and DMP Factory 350 printers, 3D Systems has also introduced a new aluminum alloy material, LaserForm AISiMg0.6(A) for strong, lightweight parts that no require casting.
DMP 350 platform
3D System’s Direct Metal Printing (DMP) platform, which also includes the recently announced DMP Factory 500, is a scalable metal additive manufacturing solution that enables businesses to transition their production to 3D printing. The two new machines unveiled at Formnext were built for robust applications and 24/7, repeatable metal part production. Notably, clients can grow their operations easily with the DMP platform, starting with the DMP Flex 350 and moving to the DMP Factory 350.
The DMP Flex 350 is the follow up to 3D Systems’ ProX DMP 320 metal 3D printer. The upgraded platform integrates improved gas flow technology, which in turn enables higher repeatability and print uniformity, as well as improved print productivity (up 15% compared to the preceding model). Overall, the DMP Flex 350 boasts faster time-to-market and a lower total cost of operation.
The DMP Factory 350, for its part, leverages the same features as the DMP Flex 350 but adds an integrated powder management system. As 3D Systems elaborates, an in-unit viewing panel lets users visually inspect the ultrasonic sieve to ensure incident-free use. The DMP Factory 350 also includes real-time process monitoring and gives users the ability to analyze and optimize print parameters for higher quality products.
Both new metal 3D printers come with 3D System’s 3DXpert 14 all-in-one integrated software solution for a seamless metal 3D printing workflow. In terms of cost, the DMP Flex 350 will start at a price point of $575,000 (€504,528), and the DMP Factory 350 will sell for $763,000 (€669,487). Both systems are expected to be available starting in late Q4 2018.
Early adopters of the DMP Flex 350 platform
Israeli provider of precision metal parts, Sharon Tuvia, has already made public its intentions to integrate the DMP Flex 350 into its operations for the purpose of manufacturing topology-optimized brackets for aerospace companies and parts for commercial satellites. The company says it chose the new metal 3D printer because of the high quality of titanium parts it produced.
“We challenged titanium parts produced on the DMP Flex 350 with a battery of external tests— evaluating elongation, stress, fatigue, micro-structure analysis, and other factors,” explained Ronen Sharon, CEO of Sharon Tuvia. “The LaserForm titanium parts performed without parallel. The results were especially extraordinary when checking for lack of fusion, also called incomplete fusion. Most parts produced using metal 3D printing technologies will reveal lack of fusion. When we tested the titanium parts from 3D Systems’ DMP Flex 350, there was absolutely no lack of fusion.”
Sharon Tuvia will operate the full DMP Flex 350 solution which comprises a metal 3D printer, software and titanium material. The company also emphasizes the machine’s gas flow technology, which is beneficial for powder reuse and for creating dense, strong parts. Sharon added: “When parts produced using 3D Systems technology undergo Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP), the part quality is comparable to forged parts. Such results are a must for aerospace parts that need to withstand high amounts of pressure periodically.”
New LaserForm aluminum
The new material introduced today by 3D Systems, LaserForm AISi7Mg0.6(A) is a new aluminum alloy powder for the production of strong, lightweight parts without the need for casting. The material is well suited for producing parts for transportation or other weight sensitive applications to improve fuel efficiency.
The new material also boasts good corrosion resistance, high thermal conductivity and electrical ductility, as well as good weldability. These properties make it suitable for producing parts such as housings, mold inserts, impellers and heat exchangers. The new material, it should go without saying, is compatible with both new metal 3D printers.
“At Formnext 2017, I announced 3D Systems’ intent to bring 3D printing to the factory floor with a new generation of additive manufacturing solutions,” commented Vyomesh Joshi, president and chief executive officer, 3D Systems. “Today I am happy to report that over the last year we have brought to market an unrivalled series of plastic and metal 3D printers, materials and software that are optimizing workflows, enabling new design innovations, and reducing costs. The new innovations we are announcing today—DMP Flex 350, DMP Factory 350 and LaserForm material—further expand 3D System’s customer-first, solution approach to drive the transformation of manufacturing.”
3D Systems will be showcasing a range of technologies and 3D printing applications at Formnext 2018. It can be found in Hall 3.1, booth F10.
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