Desktop Metal received a $9 million order from a German automaker for binder-jet additive-manufacturing systems used for the mass production of powertrain components. This is the second order from the same automaker in less than 12 months, bringing the total amount of production AM systems ordered to $16.9 million to support digitally casted powertrain components for a popular car line.
Abbott Furnace and ExOne, a provider of 3D-printing systems, are collaborating on the use of continuous furnaces for sintering of aluminum and high-volume binder-jet applications. ExOne announced in March that it had begun successfully binder-jet printing and sintering 6061 aluminum. While most binder-jet 3D printers sold today are paired with a batch sintering furnace, ExOne found – with Abbott’s assistance – that Al 6061 preferred a continuous furnace that would be advantageous in high-volume production.
Wall Colmonoy has fully installed what it says is the first Desktop Metal Shop System in the United Kingdom. Using Desktop Metal’s binder-jet technology, Wall Colmonoy can now offer affordable and fast metal 3D printing of small to medium parts. The Shop System complements the offerings of Wall Colmonoy’s Precision Components business. The division, based in Wales, encompasses a 23,500-square-foot machining facility and 19,000-square-foot casting foundry. The binder-jet printer will enable Wall Colmonoy to collaborate with customers by developing additive-manufacturing prototype or parts components, moving theoretical designs into proven applications without the restrictions of conventional subtractive manufacturing techniques. Components can be developed and manufactured for fit and function trials utilizing the company’s wear- and corrosion-resistant solutions for demanding applications or simply for end use in a desired application.
In a project co-funded by Ford Motor Company and the ExOne Company, a team of engineers, material scientists and manufacturing experts developed a patent-pending process for rapid and reliable binder-jet 3D printing and sintering of aluminum that delivers properties comparable to die casting. Collaborative and individual patents are expected to be filed by Ford and ExOne as a result of this ongoing project. Some aluminum alloys can be 3D printed today using lasers, but the process is much slower than the one developed by Ford and ExOne. The new process is expected to increase Ford’s efficiency by allowing the company to affordably produce complex parts uniquely designed for additive manufacturing, which enables size and weight reductions, part consolidation and performance improvements.
GE Additive announced that Sandvik Additive Manufacturing has become a strategic partner in its binder-jet beta partner program. Sandvik will work closely with GE Additive to become a certified metal powder supplier for a range of Osprey alloys that complement GE Additive’s own materials portfolio. Sandvik will also use GE Additive’s H2 binder-jet beta machine to support its internal and external customers. According to Sandvik, the materials collaboration with GE Additive provides opportunities to qualify its range of Osprey metal powders for the binder-jet platform and to improve product performance.
The ExOne Company was awarded a contract to develop binder-jet manufacturing processes for a novel steel alloy for the United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). Awarded by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), the contract aims to develop and qualify AF-9628, a high-strength steel developed by the Air Force, for binder-jet 3D printing.