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Through a newly-unveiled deal with Wematter, 3D Systems has agreed to become the exclusive worldwide distributor of its Gravity Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) system. The firm has also introduced Certified HX and Certified CuCr2.4, two high-performance alloys with applications ranging from large cross-section parts like gas turbine stators or impellers, to automotive and aerospace cooling systems.
“Defining the right solution starts with our team collaborating with customers to select the best material to meet the part’s required performance and mechanical properties,” said Dr. David Leigh, EVP and CTO for Additive Manufacturing at 3D Systems. “Continued investment in our materials portfolio will help increase the number of applications available to help our customers’ demands, enabling them to accelerate their innovation and maintain their competitive advantage.”
Bringing the Gravity to a wider market
Initially introduced in 2020, the Wematter Gravity is a highly-compact system that’s designed to improve the accessibility of SLS for those operating in tight spaces. Despite the unit’s relatively small 0.7 m x 0.7 m x 1.5 m footprint, it still manages to squeeze in a 300mm x 300mm x 300mm build area, a volume that’s said to be large enough to complete entire production runs in 24 hours or less.
Since the original machine debuted, Wematter has continually upgraded it, launching the Gravity 2022 Mk II 3D printer at the TCT 3Sixty exhibition in June 2022, and it’s now CE-certified for use in offices, hospitals, and research laboratories.
While the machine was first launched in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region, 3D Systems now says it can help “expand its total market.” This is because, having agreed to become the sole global distributor of the Gravity, the firm believes it will be able to “reach additional customers with a high-reliability, affordable SLS solution.” Though the system is currently only available in the EMEA region, an American and Asian Pacific launch is being planned for the second quarter of 2023.
“Through our partnership with 3D Systems, this platform will be available and serviced globally through a well-known, established brand in this market,” added Wematter President Robert Kniola. “This will transform Wematter into a relevant global market player in the niche of affordable and accessible SLS solutions.”
“I look forward to bringing this technology to the market together and creating new opportunities for customers that have been asking for such a solution for a long time.”
3D Systems’ new 3D printing alloys
Within its own portfolio, 3D Systems expanded its material offering at Formnext with the launch of its Certified HX and Certified CuCr2.4 alloy powders. With both being certified for use with the DMP Flex 350, and DMP Factory 350 3D printers, and the HX also certified for the DMP Factory 500, the materials are said to have broad applications in the creation of high-strength, corrosion-resistant parts.
That said, the powders do feature distinct properties which lend themselves to slightly different use cases. Compared to other nickel alloys, Certified HX contains a higher concentration of molybdenum (up to 9.5%). This enhances the material’s strength, as well as boosting its resistance to corrosion, creep deformation, cracking, and oxidation.
These qualities are said to make Certified HX ideal for deployment in applications which see parts exposed to temperatures of up to 1200°C. Potential use cases include the production of large, tall components such as stator blades, impellers, turbine vanes or drilling tools with integrated cooling and flow channels, for use in the energy, industrial, petrochemical, and aerospace & defense industries.
Certified CuCr2.4, on the other hand, is high-strength copper that’s significantly stronger than pure copper, while being easier to process during printing. The alloy also features superior part density (typically 99.9%) and high conductivity after heat treatment, making it well suited to the 3D printing of thermal management systems for consumer goods, automotive, aerospace or defense applications.
3D Systems’ latest metal launches follow its commercialization of Certified CuNi30 earlier this year, a highly corrosion-resistant copper-nickel alloy it initially developed for Newport News. On the polymer front, the firm also introduced the Figure 4 Tough Clear and DuraForm PAx Black materials during October 2022, both of which are engineered for long-lasting mechanical performance and stability.
Check out our full Formnext news round-up for the latest from 3D printing’s leading trade show.
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Featured image shows 3D Systems’ booth at Formnext 2022. Photo via 3D Systems.