Several European 3D printing/Additive manufacturing companies are establishing offices here in the U.S. One of them is SLM Solutions, which develops and sells laser sintered metal machines, competing with EOS, 3D Systems, and now Renishaw.
In 2012, SLM Solutions established an office in Commerce, Michigan. Reasons for doing so include the increasing demand for technical consulting services as well as the increasing demand for additive manufacturing in America. Executives at the company plan on strengthening and expanding the service and sales network into Canada, Mexico, and the U.S.
The US-American office will focus on additive manufacturing systems, especially the SLM (Selective Laser Melting) Technology. Beyond the standard program of SLM, Vacuum Casting, and Metal Part Casting Systems, consumables are also provided.
Like other additive manufacturing/3D printing processes, selective laser melting generates parts from 3D CAD data in a layer building process. Selective laser melted parts are precise and homogenous, with a density and accuracy comparable to that of cast components. The layer thicknesses are 0.05 to 0.03 mm, the applied tolerances achieve 0.02 mm, and a surface roughness of less than 20 μm. Components exhibit almost 100% density.
The fast and precise method of structuring layers can work with almost any metal and certain ceramics and is supporting the industry trend to small lots and individual parts production in many market segments.
SLM Solutions offers three standard machines that print with 10 metal materials.
The compact Selective Laser Melting System 125 HL produces highly complex metal components using fine metal powders. The system is suitable for an R&D-environment as well as for small lot production.
With a patented bidirectional loader movement, the SLM 125 HL offers a safe filter system and efficient protective gas consumption due to internal recirculation of inert gas at laminar flow.
The system does offer software to process CAD/STL-data files as a standard feature, which is also used for slicing and support generation. The open software architecture lets you modify the system parameters according to your production needs. Metal materials include stainless steel, tool steel, cobalt-chromium, Inconell, aluminum and Titanium.
The machine uses a YLR-Faser-Laser, 100/200 W. The build chamber is 125 x 125 x 75 mm. Build speed is 15 ccm/h. Part layer thickness can range from 20 µm – 75 µm. Wall thicknesses can be 140 µm.
The SLM 250HL is a Fiber Laser driven Generative Process, which produces homogeneous metal components with a density of up to 99.9% using powder base materials. Applications include the rapid prototyping and manufacturing of tooling for stamping and sheet metal pressing, plastic and metal injection as well as multi material and hybrid designed inserts. The production of limited requirement components in high load materials, for example, medical implants or components for the aircraft industry are also applications.
The machine uses a YLR-Faser-Laser, 200/400 W. The build chamber is 250 x 250 x 350 mm. Build speed is 15 ccm/h. Part layer thickness can range from 20 µm – 75 µm. Wall thicknesses can be 150 µm.
The generative Selective Laser Melting System 280 HL provides a build chamber of 280 x 280 x 350 mm and unique double beam technology. This technology improves the laser beam profile as well as the quality of components. High quality lenses are used in the internal optics.
The machine is equipped with a 400 W fiber laser and also can be used with a new 1 KW fiber laser. Other features include the patented safe filter system, the highly efficient protective gas consumption, and the bidirectional loader movement. The field-proven, latest software does support a production-oriented data preparation for specific applications and optimal building processes.
The SLM 280 HL system covers a wide range of metals. Stainless Steel, Tool Steel, Cobalt-Chromium, Super Alloys, Aluminum and Titanium have been processed successfully already.
Build speed is 35 ccm/h. Layer thicknesses range from 20 µm – 100 µm; wall thickness from 200 µm – 1000 µm.