LaserProFusion is a new technology for polymer additive manufacturing. It uses nearly one million diode lasers to melt the build material, building up a part layer by layer. According to EOS, this build process is so productive that it can serve as an alternative to injection molding for many applications.
All the lasers in the LaserProFusion process achieve a maximum total output of up to 5 kilowatts. For each layer, only the diode lasers are activated that match the CAD data of the part – down to the exact pixel. The new technology shortens exposure times, regardless of the number of parts and their geometry.
Dr. Tobias Abeln, Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at EOS says: “With the LaserProFusion technology, we are achieving a new level of productivity in polymer industrial 3D printing for serial manufacturing. It is a technology that can be an alternative to injection molding in many applications, enabling tool-free injection molding. This will make industrial 3D printing attractive for a completely new market in the future.”
EOS M 300-4 as the foundation of an AM production cell
EOS will also show the interaction of its software and hardware in the form of a production cell for metal industrial 3D printing. The display integrates all the essential solutions for an optimal flow of parts and data throughout every step in production with AM – including design, the AM build process, and quality assurance.
The initial production process would begin with Amphyon software from Additive Works. This program simulates the part production, highlighting and optimizing potentially problematic areas of the part at an early stage. The CAM tool EOSPRINT 2, an intuitive, open and productive software would also be used to prepare the part data for the build process. EOSPRINT 2 algorithms can be integrated directly into leading CAD systems for an uninterrupted and associatively linked workflow in a consistent software environment.
The EOS M 300-4, the latest system for the digital, industrial additive manufacturing of metal materials, forms the core of the production cell on display. The system offers up to 10 times higher productivity while manufacturing parts to industrial-grade quality. The platform is configurable with the EOSTATE Monitoring-Suite for real-time monitoring of the AM build process. The suite includes four different monitoring modules (System and Laser, PowderBed, MeltPool, and Exposure OT) that help users capture production and quality-related data. This ability, to carry out quality assurance during the build process is significant, particularly in large-scale manufacturing, as reproducible high part quality is essential.
The production cell can be connected to existing MES/ERP applications through EOSCONNECT and its open OPC UA interface. New digital marketplaces and IoT platforms are also supported. Therefore, all the machine and production data obtained can be used in real time and form the basis of a digital factory. The first element of the EOSCONNECT software suite, EOSCONNECT Core recently became available and further modules are under development.
Smart service for maximum system availability
EOS will present its SmartCAL service solution, a combination of hardware and software for laser scanner calibration. This service helps ensure the exact positioning of the laser beam on the building platform to guarantee part quality. SmartCAL helps reduce calibration time by more than 80%. It is also possible to calibrate the overlap area in the building space of the EOS M 300-4 and EOS M 400-4, resulting in an optimized overlap area with regard to both the mechanical part properties and the visibility of the overlap line, the basis for a further improved part quality.
EOS also recently began offering a remote service for its systems. A secure data connection to the machines enables EOS to provide the customer with support and assistance more quickly than ever before. The connection is only temporarily established at the initiation of the customer and disconnected again after communication is completed. The data sovereignty of the customer is always ensured.
Reliable part properties as basis for serial additive manufacturing
EOS is introducing classifications in the form of Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) to highlight the technological maturity of all its polymer and metal materials as well as processes. TRL provides information availability and transparency that will enable companies to compare industrial 3D printing with traditional manufacturing technologies and other 3D printing technologies. The concept was developed by NASA and is established in many industries. Level 5, for example, refers to a verification of the technical solution, while the highest, level 9, refers to full production capability documented with extensive statistical data. With valid parameters for part properties, EOS facilitates and accelerates the shift to serial additive manufacturing.
EOS is dividing its material products into two categories: TRL 3 -6 refers to CORE products, whereas PREMIUM products are in the categories TRL 7 -9 and therefore suitable for use in serial manufacturing. One goal is the faster availability of new materials on the market with a clear value proposition. At formnext EOS will show examples of the new categories including a high thermal load endurance aluminum alloy (PREMIUM level) and CORE-level copper materials.
New build rates for industrial applications
EOS has developed new process parameters to increase the build rates of industrial components. For the market launch, EOS presents the fastest aluminum process for the material EOS Aluminum AlSi10Mg and, together with technology partner GKN Powder Metallurgy, the EOS StainlessSteel 316L VPro (volume production) with previously unattained build rates. In addition, EOS introduces a new exposure strategy to reduce support structures. This also improves build times and dereases material consumption and post processing.