Chinese 3D printer manufacturer Bright Laser Technologies (BLT) has announced the launch of a new large-format laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) system.
Known as the ‘BLT-S1000,’ BLT’s most powerful 3D printer to date features a 1200 mm x 600 mm x 1500 mm build volume, and can be configured with up to twelve 500W lasers, enabling it to produce large parts at speeds of up to 300 cm3/h. As such, the firm is marketing its machine towards engine and petroleum power applications, particularly those in the aerospace and automotive sectors.
Who are Bright Laser Technologies?
While familiar to regular readers, BLT has kept a relatively low profile in the Western world, but since its foundation in 2011, it has established a solid reputation as a metal 3D printer developer in its native China. As of July 2019, the company has been listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, and at last count, it had around 1,400 employees. 31% of these staff are working in R&D, and BLT continues to invest in expanding its LPBF portfolio.
While the firm markets 3D printing equipment, services, and raw materials, its main offering revolves around its C-Series, A-Series, and S-Series machines. Each of these ships with different laser strengths, build area sizes, and compatibilities, which lend themselves to varying applications. The former comes with 400 x 400 x 400 mm build volumes and 1000W or 2000W lasers, designed to address quality-centric use cases, such as those in the production of complex aerospace parts.
BLT’s A-Series machines, on the other hand, are designed for the mass manufacture of components across a wider range of applications, including in the industrial, electronics, and dental industries. The largest of these, the 450 x 450 x 500 mm BLT-A450, for instance, is powered by six 500W lasers, while the smaller dental-focused 160 x 160 x 200 mm BLT-A160 operates with just two 200W lasers.
No doubt, the biggest and most capable of BLT’s products are its S-Series. Thanks to its 800 x 800 x 600 mm build area and ten-laser compatibility, the firm’s previous-largest BLT-S800 system boasts the capacity and power needed to address heavy-duty LPBF use cases. However, not satisfied with the limitations of its portfolio, BLT continues to push its capabilities further, a drive that’s evident in the 397 3D printing patents it has filed for, and the launch of its latest system: the BLT-S1000.
BLT’s new flagship 12-laser S1000
While built around the same LPBF technology as its predecessors, the BLT-S1000 can be fitted with 8-12 lasers, thus in its best-equipped iteration, the machine is BLT’s most powerful to date. In practice, these 1060nm – 1080nm wavelength lasers can be deployed at a scan speed of 7m/s, to create parts with layer thicknesses of between 20μm and 100μm.
At 35,000 kilos, the BLT-S1000 is certainly no lightweight, but its size is justified by its heavyweight manufacturing capabilities. For example, the machine ships with ‘muti-beam seamless slicing’ functionality, which is said to facilitate print consistency. The system also comes with a permanent filter system that’s designed to last for over 100,000 hours, in a way that keeps users printing for longer.
Another aspect of the BLT-S1000 that could lend itself to intensive aerospace, aviation and automotive applications, is its compatibility with titanium, aluminium, superalloy, Co-Cr alloy, stainless steel, high-strength steel, and tool steel. This, in tandem with the unit’s optical and quality monitoring functionalities, is said to make it a ‘more intelligent’ solution for the creation of large, industrial-grade parts.
With the launch of the BLT-S1000, it could also be said that BLT is going toe-to-toe with the developers of some of the largest machines in the industry. SLM Solutions’ NXG XII 600, which has been adopted by automotive firms like Divergent Technologies, is powered by the same number of lasers, albeit more powerful 1 KW ones.
Technical specifications and pricing
Below are the technical specifications for the BLT-S1000 3D printer. Prospective customers can request a quote from Bright Laser Technologies directly.
|Laser Configurations||8 to 12 x 500W Lasers|
|Laser Wavelengths||1060nm – 1080nm|
|Build Volume||1200 x 600 x 1500 mm|
|Print Speed||300 cm3/h|
|Layer Thickness||20μm – 100μm|
|Dimensions||10150 x 6500 x 5525 mm|
|Optional Extras||BLT MES System|
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Featured image shows the BLT-S1000 3D printer. Image via BLT.