Reporting on the latest case studies and research results in metal 3D printer R&D

Reporting on the latest case studies and research results in metal 3D printer R&D

1st report: From the front lines of R&D aiming for the world's highest speed

Sodick and our company have focused extensive resources on research and development to achieve the world’s highest fabrication speeds with metal 3D printers.
We presume our global competitors are also quietly progressing with development to increase their fabrication speeds.
Figure 1 shows the current position of our company and other companies.

Fig1

However, securing mechanical strength is a necessary precondition for increasing speed, and, surprisingly, we know of equipment manufacturers who are not heeding this point.
*We provide guarantees on this point (in terms of printing density) to customers adopting our equipment, and at the same time we provide all of our mechanical strength test data.

Even if a user who has purchased our equipment adjusts parameters, this will not have any major impact in terms of increasing speed.

The reason for this is that the following objectives cannot be achieved without fundamental R&D and implementation by equipment manufacturers. (This is know-how and only the headings are listed, with details omitted.)

  • Improvement of chamber technology in the printer
  • Optimization of the laser beam spot
  • Optimization of the irradiation order of laser scanning lines
  • Mechanisms for speeding up the metal powder melting and solidifying cycle
  • Acceleration of the recoat process

We have installed several machines dedicated to R&D and have a total of about 20 people working on development to increase speed. In terms of development results, we are conducting R&D to maximize speed using a single set made up of a laser transmitter and Galvano optical system, rather than equipping a single 3D printer with multiple sets of laser transmitters and Galvano optical systems.

R&D results are shown in Figure 2: New laser mode.

Fig2

EV connector core parts required 15 hours with the previous laser mode. If the new laser mode is used, the following increases in speed are attained:

  • Simultaneously fabricating three identically shaped parts: Approx. 36 hours *An improvement of 20% or more compared to the previous mode
  • Simultaneously fabricating four identically shaped parts: Approx. 34 hours *An improvement of 43% or more compared to previous mode

We will continue development to ensure the satisfaction users who adopt our equipment, by maximizing equipment performance, and devising ways to hold down or lower equipment costs.