Desktop Metal announced several major advances and expanded capabilities to the Production System. At formnext 2018, the company previewed a range of metal 3D printed parts, from mass serialization in high-mix/high-volume production and assembly consolidation to simplified manufacturing for complex metal parts.
The installation of the first Production System is scheduled for Q1 2019 to a Fortune 500 company among Desktop Metal’s early Pioneer customers. Additional customer installations at major automotive, heavy duty and leading metal parts manufacturers will follow throughout 2019, with broad availability in 2020.
“We are excited to provide the international engineering and design community with deeper insights into the power of the Production System with updated innovations and an extensive display of metal parts to be publicly shown for the first time this week,” said Ric Fulop, CEO and co-founder of Desktop Metal. “As we continue to expand our list of global customers and partners, companies that are turning to the game-changing technology available with the Production System, and installations set to begin rolling out in the coming months, Desktop Metal is looking to further shift the industry beyond prototyping to now include full scale metal manufacturing.”
Production System developments
Powered by Single Pass Jetting technology, the Production System is for mass production metal 3D printing. It is more than 4 times faster than any binder jet competitor and offers a 100 times speed improvement over any laser-based system. Since it was first introduced, enhancements to the technology and capacity of the Production System include:
● Accelerated printing speeds to 12,000 cm3per hour;
● Expanded build volume of 750 x 330 x 250 mm, a 225% improvement, for higher throughput and efficiency;
● Two full-width print bars, advanced powder spreaders and anti-ballistic system that work to spread powder and print in a single quick pass across the build area – making it the most sophisticated single pass inkjet printhead ever installed in a binder jet system;
● Use of 32,768 piezo inkjet nozzles that enables the broadest range of binder chemistries to print an array of metals – including tool steels, low alloy steels, titanium, and aluminum – at a rate of 3 billion drops per second;
● First and only binder jet system with an industrial inert environment, including gas recycling and solvent recovery, to safely print reactive metals in mass production; and
● Capability to print more than 60 kilograms of metal parts per hour.
Desktop Metal will also preview printed metal parts and applications across industries at formnext 2018, demonstrating the range and complexity now achievable for mass production.
● Spauger Bit – Simplified Manufacturing for Complex Metal Parts
The spauger bit, by Desktop Metal Pioneer customer Milwaukee Tool, features complex geometry traditionally requiring multiple manufacturing steps to produce, including time-consuming, dedicated setups for milling, turning and grinding operations. The Production System has revolutionized the process by reducing the number of steps in spauger manufacturing from more than 20 steps to four, and producing as many as 1,400 spauger bits per four-hour build.
● High-variety Manufacturing – Mass Serialization in High-Mix/High Volume Production
The Production System is capable of mass customizing batches of generative designed gears at varying amounts with mass production efficiency. Instead of needing to post-process each part using laser or electrochemical etching, ink marking, or dot peening, parts can now be printed with serial numbers – or other customization detail – in place, rending an entire build volume of unique parts with no need for post processing.
● Print-in-Place Hinge – Assembly Consolidation for High-Volume Production
Standard hinge designs, like ones used with eye-glasses, typically consist of two leaves that are bound by, and revolve around, a central pin. Assembly of these small components can be time-consuming in high volume, and often require precision engineering tools and equipment to manufacture. The Production System is able to print more than 45,000 pre-assembled 12 x 5 x 6 mm eye-glass hinges in a single four-hour build. The hinge featured at formnext has been manufactured with the pin printed directly into the knuckle of the mating leaf – eliminating assembly time and reducing risk of disassembly with use over time.