Last month, Desktop Metal announced it was ready to ship its Studio System across Europe, to customers in France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK. In its latest update, the company revealed its first customers in the UK. The University of Sheffield and global engineering solutions company Weir Group have become the first two UK-based organizations to adopt Desktop Metal’s metal 3D printing platform, the Studio System. Tri-Tech 3D, a platinum reseller partner of Desktop Metal, was responsible for and facilitated both sales.
As a “world top 100 academic establishment,” the University of Sheffield in England aims to accelerate its high-performance manufacturing research and capabilities with the installation of the Desktop Metal Studio System. The metal 3D printer—marketed as the first office-friendly metal AM solution—will be installed at the university’s Royce Translational Centre.
The Royce Translational Centre is part of the Henry Royce Institute of Advanced Materials, which also encompasses the Royce Discovery Centre that is being built at the University’s downtown campus. Royce@Sheffield, a major part of the Henry Royce Institute, is also part of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
Understandably, the team at Royce@Sheffield is eager to begin working with the state-of-the-art metal 3D printing technology. The Studio System will add to the centre’s existing capabilities which include laser powder bed fusion, electron beam and blown powder processes.
“Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) is a critical part of the strategy for many high-value manufacturing sectors, as they look to reduce material waste and increase productivity,” commented Profssor Iain Todd, the director of the Royce Translational Centre. “ALM covers many technologies, and with the Studio System, we are expanding our set of advanced 3D metal printers, which already includes electron and laser beam powder beds, and blown powder methods.
“Our industry partners range from start-ups to multinational aeronautical manufacturers: for them we represent a valuable missing link between small-scale laboratory metals processing and industrial scale manufacturing. The Desktop Metal Studio System keeps us at the cutting edge of near-net shape manufacturing capabilities in the UK.”
Weir Group, for its part, will leverage its newly installed Desktop Metal Studio System to prototype, test and deliver parts and tooling components for its clients in the mining and oil and gas sectors.
Sozon Tsopanos, Head of Additive Manufacturing at Weir Group, commented on the purchase, saying: “The additive manufacturing arena is dynamic, growing rapidly as a market, and presents exciting opportunities for innovative companies such as Weir. We are continuing to partner with world-class organizations as we proactively develop our additive manufacturing offering. The addition of this versatile system complements our existing capabilities at Weir Additive Manufacturing Solutions, allowing us to explore, prototype, test and commercialize components and tooling that will deliver significant benefits for our Mining and Oil & Gas customers globally.”
The Studio System is designed to enable cost-effective rapid prototyping of metal components, as well as the production of tooling, jigs and fixtures. Desktop Metal’s 3D printing platform has already made quite the impact in the North American market, with high-profile adopters including Ford, Google ATAP, Goodyear, BMW Group, ProtoLabs and others.
To give an idea of the 3D printing platform’s capabilities, Desktop Metal revealed that many parts produced using the Studio System brought cost savings of up to 90% compared to machining and selective laser melting (SLM) technologies.
“These first installations lead the way in a new direction for metal 3D printing, making metal parts available and more accessible to a wider range of customers,” said Colin Cater, sales manager at Tri-Tech 3D, which also sells 3D printers from Stratasys and Makerbot. “It complements all those currently using FDM, that require a metal part instead.”