In addition to expanding its Arcam additive manufacturing portfolio at Formnext with the launch of the Arcam EBM Spectra L and an automated powder recovery system, GE Additive has unveiled the new Concept Laser M2 Series 5 system. The new 3D printer, the latest generation of its popular M2 system, integrates features that enable increased part quality and consistency, better productivity and enhanced usability and maintainability.
The new Concept Laser M2 Series 5 system will support serial production applications in highly regulated industries such as aerospace and medical. The printer’s improvements were largely informed by GE Aviation, which operates a fleet of M2 machines and provided vital feedback about their operation to the GE Additive team.
As part of the update, GE Additive conducted machine design, system and component reviews as well as an extended testing period. The result is the robust, highly repeatable Concept Laser M2 Series 5.
“As our customers evolve and start to ramp up high volume production, we will also continue to evolve our machine portfolio to meet their needs for repeatability, usability and quality,” said Chris Schuppe, GM of Engineering, GE Additive. “Over the past year, teams from GE Additive have worked closely with colleagues at GE Aviation…to get direct feedback. Co-located teams collaborated on the critical characteristics needed for the next iteration of the M2 and to make a good part, but also on input on the mechanical operations, performance and productivity of the machine, and on improvements in reliability and quality.”
Built for volume production and maximum performance, the M2 Series 5 has improvements on many fronts: better system speed, uptime, productivity and reliability, as well as machine-to-machine consistency, process validation and quality control.
Among the physical updates made to the system is an upgraded gas flow system made up of a closed gas circuit with redundant oxygen monitoring for better part quality and fewer filter changes. The system is also equipped with a new optical cooling system with 10+ internal sensors and a more tightly controlled build environment. These features, along with several updates on the process control side, have resulted in increased part quality and consistency.
Looking at the new system’s increased productivity, GE Additive highlights that the M2 Series 5 can achieve 2x the build speed and has a dual laser system with up to 100% coverage per laser. The system also boasts a larger build space thanks to increased surface area and z-axis travel. Other improvements include up to 20% better resolution, an optimized machine architecture, better utilization (less downtime) and more.
On the safety front, the M2 Series 5 metal AM machine integrates a glovebox system for non-contact handling of reactive materials, better filter change and inerted sieving and powder exchange.
The GE Additive M2 Series 5 is being manufactured at the company’s Lichtenfels facility and is expected to ship to customers starting in Q1 2020.