New ways to the component

New ways to the component

In precision mode, each layer is only 20 µm high
In precision mode, each layer is only 20 µm high

Processes that were previously used in the plastics sector are now also bringing steel & Co. into shape.

Gone are the days when additive manufacturing of metal parts was reserved for financially strong companies and research institutions. There is no longer any need for cabinet-sized machines that allow laser or electron beams to dance over a powder bed in a protective gas atmosphere. A few thousand euros and a small place on the desk can be enough to shape steel & Co. to the millimetre. This is made possible by processes that originally came from the field of plastics.

The printer of the Pforzheim start-up Metshape is very accurate. It is based on the LMM process (Lithography-based Metal Manufacturing). A photosensitive polymer in which the finest metal powder is dissolved is exposed layer by layer with a projector. In precision mode, each layer is only 20 µm high. The resulting green part must then also be sintered. The surfaces then have a mean roughness value of less than 7 µm.

Laser-based processes are still leading the industry. Due to their comparatively long history - the first patent in Germany was granted in 1995 - they have a research lead.

This text is an excerpt from the article "Auf neuen Wegen zum Bauteil" by Stefan Asche, published on 09.08.2019 on "VDI-Nachrichten.com".

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