Minneapolis-based manufacturing service provider Protolabs has announced it will be adding a GE Additive Concept Laser X Line 2000R to its production capacity in late summer 2020. The system, which has a maximum build volume of 160 liters, is one of the largest powder bed metal AM systems on the market today.
The addition of the large-format metal AM system will enable Protolabs customers from industries such as aerospace to order larger 3D printed parts. The direct metal laser melting (DMLM) system has a build volume of 800 x 400 x 500 mm and has the capacity to print consolidated assemblies as a single large component. The system also comes equipped with dual 1000W lasers, which contribute to rapid production rates for large parts or multi-part builds.
“Our customers, especially in the aerospace industry, have told us they need the ability to create larger parts with complex geometries,” commented Vicki Holt, President and CEO of Protolabs. “Through our partnership with GE Additive, we are responding by scaling up use of its cutting-edge equipment to further support our customers’ metal production needs.”
The GE Additive Concept Laser X Line 2000R consists of two modules, which increases productivity and reduces downtime by allowing one build to print while another is prepped. The system is also compatible with various metal materials, including aluminum (AlSi10Mg) and titanium (Ti6AL4V Grade 23), though Protolabs says it will focus on Inconel 718 for aerospace applications.
In addition to the new large-format metal AM system, Protolabs has added four GE Additive Concept Laser M2 3D printers to its capacity, bringing the company’s total DMLM machine count to over 30 units—all capable of producing AS9100-grade parts. Protolabs has also announced the acquisition of additional post-processing equipment, including a Solukon powder removal system and a new Ipsen vacuum heat-treat furnace.
“The pace of momentum at Protolabs continues to impress,” said Jason Oliver, Vice President and CEO of GE Additive. “I appreciate the continued investment and trust in our solutions—the X Line and M2 machines are very well-suited to exacting needs of the aerospace industry. I also value the close working relationship with Vicki and her team, which is built on similar beliefs and a shared vision for industrial scale additive manufacturing.”