Characteristics of LMM technology
"Printing Metals in Ultra Precision" comprehensively describes the characteristics of LMM technology. In terms of precision and surface quality, it sets new standards for the additive production of metallic components.
Due to its precision, LMM technology is particularly suitable for small and very small metallic components. With layer thicknesses of up to 40 µm, minimum wall thicknesses of up to 0.1 mm and micro drill holes with a diameter of up to 100 µm can be realized. Similar to other additive manufacturing processes, undercuts, cross bores or internal contour-adapted cooling channels are also possible.
LMM technology does not require any supporting structures for the printing process. The high load-bearing capacity of the building material enables a three-dimensional arrangement of components (also one above the other) in the entire installation space, whereby an optimum use of installation space and thus high economic efficiency is possible. A maximum installation space of 75 x 43 x 100 mm is currently available for this purpose. In the next development stage, the footprint of the installation space is to double to 150 x 86 mm.
The LMM technology is not dependent on support structures for the production of dimensionally accurate components, which eliminates the need for time-consuming, mostly manual reworking. There is no fixed connection of the components to the construction platform. The components are removed from the building platform in the form of a feedstock block. The green parts contained therein are exposed and separated by the thermal demoulding process without manual intervention. The metal powder is bound in the feedstock throughout the entire process chain, which means that no personal protective equipment is required from the point of view of occupational health and safety.
The precision of the LMM technology is based not only on the high local resolution in the range of 40 µm but also on tension-free green parts. In contrast to competing methods of metallic additive manufacturing, component production is not carried out by a welding process. The building process takes place at room temperature, so that no thermal stresses arise in the component during the printing process. For this reason, the components do not have to have any support for the building platform. In combination with the good support properties of the feedstock, the printing process can be used to produce components with horizontally oriented free-form surfaces without support structures.