Binder jet 3D printer manufacturer ExOne has reached a milestone with its Metal 3D Printing Adoption Center, which has now delivered more than two million metal parts to its customers worldwide.
The company also revealed it has added two new X1 25Pro binder jet printers to the center in a bid to bolster its production of stainless steel parts for industrial customers and 3D printing service bureaus.
ExOne’s Adoption Center
ExOne’s metal 3D printing adoption center has been producing parts continuously since 2005, and now runs 24/7 with 28 metal 3D printers. The center produces parts for industrial customers and on-demand 3D printing service bureaus such as Shapeways, Sculpteo, and Xometry, and enables customers to try metal binder jet 3D printing for their designs before buying an ExOne system for their own production.
The facility has now delivered more than two million metal parts worldwide, with the production of single-allow metals reportedly ramping up since the launch of ExOne’s patented Triple Advanced Compaction Technology (ACT). Triple ACT is now featured on all the company’s printers and utilizes a unique method of dispensing, spreading and compacting ultra-fine metal powders during the binder jet process.
The technology is capable of delivering final part density of more than 97 percent with dimensional tolerances in the range of <1%-2.5%, depending on the material used, providing high consistency to parts.
In addition to announcing its part delivery milestone, ExOne has also installed two new X1 25Pro 3D printers featuring Triple ACT technology at its adoption center. The two systems will be dedicated to running two stainless steel materials, 17-4PH and 316L, as the company looks to increase the production of stainless steel 3D printed parts for its customers.
Designed with high-volume production in mind, the X1 25Pro features a build volume measuring 400 x 250 x 250mm and delivers a build rate of up to 3600 cm³/hr, enabling it to print a wide range of part sizes.
ExOne’s binder jet materials development
In addition to its 316L and 17-4PH stainless steel offerings, ExOne offers a wide variety of other single-alloy metals including 305L, M2 Tool Steel, 6061 Aluminum, Copper, and Inconel 718 which the company qualified for its binder jetting process in August last year.
In total, the firm’s binder jet systems now process more than 20 metal, ceramic and composite materials of which about a half are single-alloys. According to ExOne, its growing set of qualified materials is a result of the company’s extensive list of customer partnerships, including with the likes of NASA, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Virgina Tech.
For instance, in October ExOne partnered with the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) to qualify AF-9628, a high-strength steel produced by the US Air Force, for binder jetting, while a partnership with Global Tungsten & Powders saw the two companies work together to further the use of tungsten powders in metal binder jet printing.
However, the company’s most popular material continues to be X1 Metal 420i, a metal matrix composite made up of 60 percent 420 stainless steel that is 40 percent infiltrated with bronze. Being both durable and affordable, the material is used for industrial and tooling applications such as plastic injection molding as well as for consumer goods like jewelry.
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Featured image shows ExOne’s Metal 3D Printing Adoption Center, in continuous operation since 2005, has now printed more than 2 million parts. Photo via Business Wire.