Stratasys, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, and Rehovot, Israel, has released further details of its new metal Additive Manufacturing platform currently being developed and designed for short-run metal applications. First unveiled earlier this year, the Additive Manufacturing platform is based on Stratasys’ ‘Layered Powder Metallurgy’ (LPM™) technology, and is said to make production of metal parts quicker, easier and more cost-effective.
The company stated that it believes this technology will be of special interest to the Powder Metallurgy community. LPM is reported to offer improved efficiency and cost savings using standard Powder Metallurgy alloys, with high accuracy and controlled shrinkage, as well as extremely fast throughput. Developed internally over the past several years, Stratasys’ platform incorporates the company’s proprietary jetting technology. The first material to be made available for the system will be an aluminium alloy.
“We note that current approaches to 3D printing metal parts leave a lot to be desired – including slow post-processing, painstakingly intricate support removal, and hours of machining and grinding. Combined with the high cost of AM powders, this means each part is expensive, with a total cost of ownership that is too hard to justify,” stated Rafie Grinvald, Director of Product Marketing and Management, Stratasys.
“Our new platform is being designed to transform the current metal Additive Manufacturing landscape – presenting a viable alternative to typical production methods – and helping customers dramatically reduce the costs of creating reliable, consistent production-grade, metal parts for short-run applications.”
The LPM™ solution includes a three-step Additive Manufacturing process combining traditional PM with Stratasys’ PolyJet™ ink-jet technology. The process includes printing of boundaries with proprietary thermal ink, powder dispensing and spreading, and then compaction of the powder layer to achieve high-density and controllable shrinkage.
The system aims to directly address the needs of customers who require production of pilot-series parts, small-batch manufacturing during product ramp-up and end-of-life, as well as customised, lightweight, complex parts. The offering is said to be ideal for such markets as automotive, aerospace and defence.