Metal 3D printing has a new modality. Incus GmbH, a startup OEM from Vienna, Austria, has announced the forthcoming launch of a lithography-based metal additive manufacturing method at Formnext 2019 next month.
The Hammer Series will be the company’s first 3D printers, two beta versions of which have reportedly been in development for over a year.
“Our goal is to become an integral part of production in the metal industry,” comments Dr. Gerald Mitteramskogler, CEO of the fledgling company.
“To achieve this, we are focusing on absolute service orientation and our passion for bringing innovative metal printing solutions to market. Quality and partnership are cornerstones of our business model.”
Fast, high resolution metal 3D printing
Founded this year, Incus is the brainchild of the R&D lab at ceramic 3D printing specialist Lithoz, itself a spin-out of TU Wien.
The company uses a technology based on vat polymerization techniques like SLA and DLP, the main difference being that the process is tuned to cure a material that contains metal particles. Once completed, these objects are debound then sintered in a furnace to create solid metal parts. In this sense, the technique is similar to other metal 3D printing process like metal binder jetting, or FFF-based techniques that use a metal-infused filament. Potential advantages of this process over other PBF-based techniques include an ability to work with other “unweldable” metals, improved health and safety (avoiding airborne powders), heightened accuracy and, as it is light-based, faster build speeds.
Incus’ process is capable of working with materials containing metal particles just 20 µm in size (compared to 40–100 µm in other processes). All sample 3D printed parts shown by the company so far have been comparable to a matchbox or coin in size, with minute details in the design. Already, the company has also reported the ability to produce parts with similar material properties to those produced via Metal Injection Molding (MIM).
First preview of the Hammer Series 3D printer
Award winning investment firm AM Ventures, and several other private investors, provided financial backing for Incus to help the project get off the ground. Johann Oberhofer, Chief Technology Officer of AM Ventures, comments, “When the project was presented to us, we saw immediately that this was not a small boost to innovation,”
“We believe that this new technology will open up many opportunities in the metal industry and we want to help make this happen.”
Development of Incus’ first 3D printers has been done in collaboration with the University of Pforzheim and metal engineering company MetShape. According to Professor Carlo Burkhardt, Head of the Institute for Strategic Technology and Precious Metals at Pforzheim and founder of MetShape, “The components […] produced in the beta phase with the printer exceeded our expectations.”
The first public view of Incus Hammer Series 3D printers will be given at Formnext from the 19th through the 22nd November 2019. Incus will exhibit at the show on Stand D32 in Hall 11.1.
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Featured image shows a sample 3D printed figurine from Incus GmbH with match for scale. Image via Incus