The Prodways R&D teams have been collaborating with CEA-LITEN for two years. This collaboration with this institute of CEA – CEA Tech – is working on a new metal 3D printing process using metal powder combined with organic binders. Recently, the team revealed its first successful production of titanium parts using this new exclusive process.
If it were ramped up to series production scale, this technology would offer several advantages:
– Speed : A printing process that is up to five times faster than direct metal 3D printing;
– Metal flexibility : The ability to work with all types of metals (including titanium, Inconel, cobalt-chrome, and so on);
– Safety : Resolves problems related to health, safety and the environment (with a process that does not produce fine particles, using very fine powders);
– Operating time : Reduces overall operation time and production costs;
– Efficiency : Requires less energy, as the energy normally used to fuse metal is provided by an oven and not a laser;
– Accuracy : Provides a high degree of precision not possible with current metal 3D printing technology.
Development challenges remain, but the first successful production, the result of a two year research study, is a major step forward, said Prodways.
Prodways obtained the first conclusive results in refining the process by using MOVINGLight technology for indirect fabrication of metal parts. These technologies, such as the lost wax casting process, can make tools, master patterns, or unique moulds that make it possible to fabricate high performance metal parts. In particular, this technology can create master pattern geometries that are more complex. Prodways is also developing resins that can optimize this technology for casting metal parts. This indirect process, which is often used in the aeronautic and automotive industries, is being tested at several leading companies in these sectors.