During Formnext Connect, American AM hardware OEM Optomec is presenting two new metal 3D printers models: CS250, for research, and HC-TBR, for production. The systems are based on Directed Energy Deposition (DED), a free form powder-based metal 3D printing technology that Optomec pioneered under the LENS trademark and continues to lead the market with more than 200 global installations.
Both new machines offer unparalleled value in terms of functionality, performance, flexibility, and pricing. First, these platforms are both designed around an efficient 250 x 250 x 250 mm build volume, suitable for small part production and repair, including batch processing.
The systems are available in 3 axis or 5 axis versions capable of simultaneous 5 axes coordinated motion for full free space printing. The systems are also equipped with a next-generation print head that is capable of automatically changing the laser spot size and output power on the fly, so they can apply material faster to larger areas of the part yet still create fine features with lower heat input to thinner areas of the build. Further, these printers have an optional inert processing capability that is optimized for printing reflective and reactive alloys like copper, aluminum and titanium, in addition to a wide variety of other common metals including steel and steel alloys, nickel alloys, and more.
The CS250 machine, designed for research, is an all-in-one system with up to four integrated powder feeders, enabling rapid alloy development and graded-material part creation. It is small enough to pass through a standard doorway, facilitating use in many existing research labs. The base system offers superior value with pricing starting below $300,000.
The HC-TBR machine is designed for high performance, high volume production applications. with the first-ever capability of automatically moving and processing titanium parts into and out of an inert atmosphere, a feature critical for high-quality metallurgy and plant safety. This automation module allows for continuous operation without the need for manual loading into and out of the controlled environment work area. For Additive Repair applications, such as production turbine blade restoration, the HC-TBR also includes an integrated vision system with proprietary AutoCLAD software that scans each part individually and uses pattern recognition to create a custom tool path and additive repair recipe for the part, compensating for part-to-part variation while minimizing the heat input into the component. The HC-TBR was designed for easy integration into automated work cells and includes automatic antechamber doors which can be loaded and unloaded robotically.