A workshop was recently held at the Advanced Manufacturing Precinct at RMIT University and welcomed over 61 attendees from across Australia.
The discussion focused on the latest developments in 3D printing (additive manufacturing) using metals.
A workshop was recently held at the Advanced Manufacturing Precinct at RMIT University and welcomed over 61 attendees from across Australia. The discussion focused on the latest developments in 3D printing (additive manufacturing) using metals.
Held in conjunction with SLM Solutions the AMP Technical Director, Professor Milan Brandt co-chaired the event with John Grace, CEO of Raymax Applications the Australian distributor for SLM Solutions. Professor Brandt detailed the collaborative relationship between these two companies and the Advanced Manufacturing Precinct and elaborated on the opportunities for contractual agreements with companies to assist in the adoption process of 3D additive manufacturing.
Associate Professor Martin Leary from RMIT’s School of Engineering provided a technical discussion covering the process of selective laser melting for the creation of metal parts. Current innovations within the industry were also presented to the group along with to the challenges this new technology faces. But the range of opportunities for commercial applications available through the selective laser melting process was a key message that sparked a number of questions from the audience.
The global demand and uptake of SLM Solutions laser systems, was presented by Stefan Ritt, International Sales and Marketing Manager for SLM Solutions, Lubeck, Germany. The strong demand has seen a massive expansion in the production of their current systems the SLM®125HL, SLM® 280HL, and the more recent SLM® 500HL with double-beam technology. Stefan discussed the challenges to traditional milling processes this latest laser technology was presenting but the reverse process (build v’s mill) saved on metal usage. Examples of applicaitons in Europe covered the aerospace, automotive, medical and dental industry groups, with particular demand for the manufacture of titanium due to the attraction of its high mechanical properties and lower weight. On hand was an example article published in the AMT Magazine covering a US company, Aero Kinetics, who partnered with SLM solutions to develop titanium parts for drones (unmanned flying aircraft) in production for defence purposes.
To provide a base for better decision making by the audience, Dr Cédric Chaminade from Raymax presented an alternative laser method, the laser metal deposition process (LMD). LDM uses a different procedure where the laser beam melts the deposition of metal powder and can be used to build up or add to metallic parts offering modification opportunities. Raymax are the Australian distributor for the leading French company, BeAM EasyClad.
A real life case study was presented by a research fellow at RMIT’s School of Engineering, Dr Maciej Mazur who provided an account of using SLM to make tooling for injection moulding. The account demonstrated the efficiencies of the new technology to current manufacturing processes.
All attendees agreed the day’s presentations provided insights to enable them to identify the most suitable solution for their needs. Tea breaks and lunch were hosted in the Advanced Manufacturing Precinct with plenty of time for networking, discussion and observation of a working SLM laser system. Professor Brandt extended invitations to any visitor to view the Precinct and to consider using the AMP laser systems and expertise to assist them in design and development of 3D manufactured parts.