rapid prototype + manufacturing (rp+m) announced new capabilities to deliver 3D printed metal prototypes and end parts to engineers, designers and end-user customers. The company acquired an EOSINT M 280 Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) system.
“Using the latest Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) technology, we not only can provide leading 3D printing capabilities in metal, but also serve as a solutions provider and resource for our customers and the industry,” said Matt Hlavin, CEO of rp+m. “We are excited to continue expanding the parameters of additive manufacturing by investing in the new technologies, and developing holistic 3D printing solutions that help our customers operate more efficiently.”
From my exclusive interview with Hlavin, he noted that the vision for rp+m, as far as expanding additive manufacturing, is to move the process forward, to develop a way to marry additive manufacturing with traditional manufacturing. “This industry is not a service bureau driven industry, and I don’t believe it is an OEM (as in developers of additive machines) driven industry. I think they have offered creative technologies and processes, but our vision and process moving forward is to figure out how do you marry additive manufacturing with traditional manufacturing.
“The best way for additive to matriculate into the mainstream,” continued Hlavin, “is to shift how a product is designed. You don’t take a tradition process, a traditional design for a part, and just make that. That is not the solution; it is going to cost more money. So you have to design for 3D in metals, polymers, and ceramics.”
Noted Hlavin, engineers need to keep an open mind when designing. Whether an engineer has 3 or 30 years experience, it’s important to move beyond past experience to come into a new design with a fresh perspective of what is possible and build to that, not what has been done in the past. “Design a part for the machine’s technology, such as in the orientation and how your build it. With metal, your goal is to design it with a lattice structure, a support structure, that is as minimal as possible to support the part so it doesn’t warp, or deform. You are really looking at the dimensional requirements, not necessarily the surface, and maximizing the technologies capabilities.”
Materials, especially metals, will be critical to additive manufacturing. “To make the best use of additive manufacturing, engineers need to understand what materials are available,” continued Hlavin. “And what materials could be available. And that’s what we do at rp+m. Our R & D group identifies materials, applications, and processes and if these are not readily available, then we work on developing them. The field of materials is going to be bigger than the machine companies in about 5 to 10 years.”
One of the reasons rp+m has been working with EOS and the resultant purchase of an EOSINT M 280 was to understand the metal additive technology.
The M 280 creates high-caliber metal products directly from three-dimensional CAD data without the need for tooling. The machine’s process builds parts layer by layer by melting fine metal powder with a laser beam, resulting in reproducible-quality components regardless of geometric complexity. Using this technology, customers in the aerospace, medical or industrial sectors can rapidly produce patterns, products or tools in a range of metal materials.
In addition, rp+m has hired materials scientist and additive manufacturing expert Ed Herderick, Ph.D., as director of R&D. In his new role, Herderick will help expand rp+m’s product and service offerings and identify strategic growth opportunities to enhance technical excellence in additive manufacturing.
“We’ve been working with developing materials, identifying new materials, new processes, and building out people and processes to advance the technology,” continued Hlavin. “One of the problems with the additive industry is what is missing–materials and applications.”
“A machine like the EOSINT M 280 is a special tool for flexible 3-D printing in metals, but the key to producing truly excellent and highly-specified parts lies in the upfront design and finishing,” said Herderick. “I am delighted to be part of a team that focuses on pioneering new research and delivering comprehensive solutions that meet our customers’ needs today and in the future.”
Prior to joining rp+m, Herderick served as director of the Additive Manufacturing Consortium (AMC) at Edison Welding Institute (EWI), where he managed the consortium of industry, government and academic partners and also formulated and executed EWI’s strategic development plan for additive manufacturing.
Herderick has a doctorate in Materials Science and Engineering from Ohio State University. He serves on the board of directors for The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS) as director of public and governmental affairs and also volunteers his time with the American Ceramic Society (ACerS), where he is involved in several committees.
Filed Under: Make Parts Fast