Additive manufacturing offers new possibilities for high complexity and individuality and the market for additive technologies is growing quickly. It will be common to see CNCs and other subtractive machines sitting side by side with various additive machines.
DMG MORI has already taken a step in this direction by developing a unique hybrid machine that combines subtractive machining (SM) and laser metal deposition processes for additive manufacturing.
The LASERTEC 65 3D is based on a DMU 65 monoBLOCK® machine and has been developed by SAUER LASERTEC in Pfronten, Germany, in collaboration with DMG MORI USA. The LASERTEC 4300 3D is based on the turn-mill center NT4300SZ from Iga, Japan. Both machines are equipped with powerful diode lasers for deposition of the metal, while the 5-axis and turn-mill machine platforms enable highly accurate SM operations to be carried out.
The metal deposition process via powder nozzle is up to 20 times faster than laser sintering in a powder bed. All common metal powders can be processed, including steel, nickel and cobalt alloys, brass or titanium. Wear protection layers can also be applied on the base material.
One strength of this process is the option to successively build up layers of different materials. Wall thicknesses of 0.5 mm to 5 mm (0.02 in to 0.2 in) are possible depending on the laser and the nozzle geometry. Complex 3D contours can also be generated in layers without supports.
The individual layers can then be accurately machined before the areas become inaccessible to a cutter or other tools due to interference with subsequently deposited component geometry. The combination of the two processes is a sensible choice for repair work and the production of mold tools. Additionally, it offers many interesting options for lightweight components,
prototypes or small batch production.
For integral parts which are traditionally milled with a material waste rate of 95% and more, significant cost savings can be achieved and the rate of waste can be reduced to about 5%. Series production is planned for fall 2014.