Like a young debutante, finally throwing her cotillion in the ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria, the MetalFAB1 3D printer from Additive Industries will be making its world premier at formnext in Frankfurt this November. The metal 3D printing system, developed in collaboration with 3DSIM, will be the first to integrate smart software and hardware that, if it performs what its manufacturers suggest, would greatly improve the quality and repeatability of metal 3D printing technology.
When the MetalFAB1 hits the stage on November 17, formnext attendees will get to the see this first-of-its-kind machine, hopefully in action, as it boasts such advanced functions as fully-automated build plate and product handling, multiple full-field lasers, continuous in-process calibration and integrated heat treatment. Relying on 3DSIM’s advanced print preview-style software, the result of five years of research at the University of Louisville, the system is meant to produce parts that are unrivaled in terms of reproducibility and overall quality.
As it stands, metal 3D printing can often be a trial-and-error process, with many subsequent prints necessary to nail down the exact printing parameters to achieve the same part upon successive prints. The exaSIM Support Optimization Tool, one in a suite of such tools, is meant to predict solidified microstructures and their resultant properties through the modeling of underlying physical behaviors during the printing process, which include parameters like beam diameter, beam intensity, scan strategy and part orientation. Altogether, 3DSIM boasts that this software is saves billions of years in simulation calculations. The modular MetalFAB1, which went into beta testing earlier this year, is the first system to use 3DSIM’s software in an effort to achieve the highest repeatability possible.
Daan Kersten, CEO of Additive Industries, said of the upcoming product unveiling, “Last year we exhibited in Frankfurt with a large wooden machine crate and promised to launch our industrial 3D metal printing system in Frankfurt this year. Now we are fulfilling our promise and we are planning to show how future additive manufacturing will look like and rock the show.”
Just as Davide divined, when he shared their teaser video this May, the MetalFAB1 will debut at formnext and, when it does, I’m sure that it will have more than a couple of suitors eyeing it as it sparkles its shining personality on the ballroom floor.