Additive Industries and SMS group agreed to develop and jointly market a production system for additive manufacturing (AM) on an industrial scale. The companies bring expertise in both core AM technologies: the manufacture of metal powder and 3D printing. The production concept will not just encompass powder manufacturing and 3D printing but other stages as well, right up to delivery of the finished component. The first sign of this collaboration will be the Democenter, which is to be set up at SMS’s facility in Mönchengladbach, Germany, in the next few months.

SMS will build an industrial-scale pilot system, scheduled to go live by the end of the year, to enable faster progress in powder production. The powder-manufacturing process is followed directly by 3D printing. In Additive Industries’ integrated MetalFAB1 system, the metal powder-bed fusion process is applied to melt the powder in a reproducible and efficient way. After additively manufacturing the parts, the build plate with parts is automatically transported to a heat-treatment furnace for a stress-relief cycle before storage by a robot.

SMS group, specifically SMS Elotherm, is responsible for the heat treatment of the printed components for setting of improved material characteristics. After the components have been machined and undergone quality control checks, they are ready to be shipped.